Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vanilla Facts

Green vanilla pods

  • There are two main species of vanilla - Tahitian and Burbon (aka Mexican)
  • Native to Mexico
  • Vanilla is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop, which is why it's so expensive.
  • It takes up to three years after the vines are planted before the first flowers appear.

Vanilla Flower

  • Because vanilla has always been so valuable, it has a long history of robbery and intrigue. In Madagascar, vanilla rustling was a major problem for many years. Growers branded the individual beans when they were green and the markings remained after they were dried.

Dried whole vanilla beans

  • Since vanilla is in demand, and because it's so expensive, synthetics are often used instead of natural vanilla. In fact, 97% of vanilla used as a flavor and fragrance is synthetic.

What is your favorite recipe using Vanilla?



Anonymous said...

i'm one of those weirdos who prefers vanilla to chocolate... i use vanilla flavouring in almost every sweet thing i bake... thanks for the info on this superstar of baking!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on vanilla! I love the photo of the green pods! :)

I don't have one favorite recipe using vanilla. ;) I have too many. ALL desserts need vanilla. Lol!

Anonymous said...

I think I like good quality vanilla more than chocolate. Am I weird?

Anonymous said...

I think vanilla is a very interesting spice. Thanks for putting all the information together! I don't cook much with vanilla... maybe my favorite vanilla dish is good old vanilla ice cream.

Claire said...

I don't know that I have a favorite, and I must admit that I've never used fresh vanilla beans, only extract. I do LOVE using it and never measure. I usually end up using more than is called for. I did, however, just recently make Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes and you could DEFINITELY taste the vanilla! :-)

Anonymous said...

Teddy, my favorite recipe using vanilla would be taking vanilla ice cream and adding cookies and calling it a day.

Annie said...

Great facts. I love vanilla and use it in almost everything that I bake.

I have yet to try the whold bean though. I would love to, but I always stop myself when I see the price :(

Raw Vegan Momma said...

My new favorite is adding vanilla bean in my smoothies. Delicious!

vegchic2(Jody) said...

Usually vanilla is not a main ingredient for me in my recipe, though I often use vanilla extract.

You are right about it being expensive. If I want to use real vanilla in my soap recipes it is about $40 for a 1/4 ounce. Because of that, I usually buy Peru Balsam essential oil which smells like vanilla, but is much cheaper.

The tofu looks yummy and the coconut kitty sure is cute.

About your job...way to go! That must be so exciting. I'm psyched for you.

Anonymous said...

mmm...vanilla. I have one bottle of the good stuff that I savour and only use for special occasions. The rest of the time I use the extract

Geraldine said...

This was a great post Teddy, thanks for all the info. and photos about vanilla. I love it too.

pinknest said...

everything and anything. i ADORE vanilla! vanilla ice cream, vanilla caramels, vanilla custards, etc.