What is Vanilla?

Vanilla is a substance obtained from vanilla beans or produced artificially and used to flavor sweet foods or to import a fragrant scent to food such as: "Vanilla Ice Cream"

How is Vanilla made?

Planting - Vine cuttings are planted. They take 18 months to mature and start flowering and are hand pollinated.

Harvest - The green pods are harvested after growing in the vine for 9 months. The pods are odorless.

Killing - The cellular tissue of the pods has to be killed to prevent further growth. This is usually done by extreme heating (sun, oven, boiling) or freezing.

Curing - The pods are kept in hot, humid conditions (45°- 65° C or 115° - 150° F) for 7 to 10 days. This allows the enzymes in the pods to cure into vanilla.

Drying - To keep the pods from rotting, they are dried. This is usually done by laying them in the sun. By the end of the drying process, the pods will lose 80% of their water weight. When they are done drying they will be aromatic.

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2 interesting facts about Vanilla

1. Vanilla is a Tropical Plant so it must be grown within the 20 degree band on either side of the equator.

2. 98% of Vanilla is made by chemicals.