All about Vanilla
The vanilla vine is an orchid which is indigenous to South Eastern Mexico. Now it is produced in many warm climates close to the equator. It is the only member of the orchid family that is edible. Only a few orchids produce fruits and this is one of them. It is the world’s second most labor-intensive agricultural crop.
After saffron, it is the most expensive spice in the world. It is highly valued as a fragrance, as well as being a popular ice cream flavor. The bean producing flower lasts only one day. Vanilla can be pollinated only by the melipona bee that is found in Central America.
Fast Facts: –
- Vanilla beans are picked when they are still green. Then they are left to dry in the Sun.
- A green bean is around 4 times larger from the dried ones.
- Internationally, it ranks first as the most popular flavor of ice cream leaving chocolate behind.
- Thomas Jefferson introduced the U.S. to vanilla after tasting it in France. At that time, he was serving as Ambassador to King Louis XVI.
- Most of the time, vanilla orchids are pollinated by hand using a small toothpick-like stick everywhere they are grown.
- Tahitian beans are the finest quality of vanilla beans, grown in Tahiti. They are more fruity and floral than Bourbon and Mexican beans.
- The concentrated flavor of the beans is called pure vanilla extract. It has a light amber color.
- The Olmeca people on the Gulf Coast of Mexico were perhaps the first to use it as flavoring.
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