A little more about real vanilla

Vanilla is an extremely time-consuming spice, therefore, it is not surprising that it is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron. People’s hands come into contact with vanilla from the moment it is pollinated, collected, dried to the ripening stage. And then the pods are measured (also manually), sorted and are packed, and the bigger and fatter they are, the higher the grade.

There are more than 110 types of vanilla, of which 15 have aroma, and only 3 of them are good enough to use in the vanilla industry.

A vanilla pod is formed after pollination of a vanilla flower within 12 hours of opening, and this is due to the need for accuracy pollination of flowers by hand. Bees could do this job (if they were around all the time), but the chances of them hitting “10” are less than 10%.

After pollination, the flower closes and begins to form into a bean-like pod that takes about 6 months to mature for harvest.

Vanilla pods must be collected at a certain time interval, because in the moment of ripening they begin split, and their quality deteriorates.

After harvesting, the pods are immersed in water heated to 65°C for 3 minutes and then quickly drained. Then they are wrapped in soft blankets for fermentation. Exactly at this stage the pods acquire their brown color.

Then the vanilla is first dried for 10 days in the sun, and then another 2-3 months in the shade.

Dried vanilla pods are packaged in a certain way to ripen for 12 months – this is how they develop complex aroma consisting of more than 180 molecules.

On the plantations of the best producers, it takes about 2 years from harvest to the moment when the vanilla goes on sale.

A little more about real vanilla

Thank you for the photo Samantha Linsell

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