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   Organic Vanilla Beans

Name - Vanilla Beans
Botanical Name - Vanilla planifolia
Family Name - Orchidaceae

   Introduction

Vanilla is the fruit of an orchid plant, which grows in the form of a bean pod. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs, and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. Vanilla may easily be one of the most well-known flavors in the world. The flavor is derived from the ripened fruit of a tropical orchid, Vanilla plan folia, the only orchid in the world that produces an edible fruit.


   Description

The flavouring comes from the seed pod, or the ‘bean’ of the vanilla plant. The prepared beans are very dark brown, slender, pleated and about 20 cm (8 in) long. The bean is tough and pliable, quality vanilla having a frosting of crystal called givre. The crystals contain the active ingredient ‘vanillin’ that produces the characteristic fragrance and is produced during the process of induced fermentation. These pods are called ‘fine vanilla’. ‘Woody vanilla’ is shorter, lighter colored, uncrystallized, stronger and slightly bitter. All beans contain thousands of tiny black seeds. Vanilla extract is also available and, if of good quality, is identical in flavour to the pods. Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. The name "vanilla" comes from the Spanish word "vanilla", meaning "little pod". The vanilla beans are also referred to as pods or "black flower", after the mature bean, which shrivels and turns black shortly after it is picked.


   Uses of Vanilla Beans

»  Vanilla flavoring in food may be achieved by adding vanilla extract or by cooking vanilla pods in     the liquid preparation.
»  A major use of vanilla is in flavoring ice cream. The most common flavor of ice cream is vanilla,     and thus most people consider it to be the "default" flavor.
» It is also used to enhance the flavor of other substances, to which its own flavor is often     complementary, such as chocolate, custard, caramel, coffee, cakes, and others.
»  The cosmetics industry uses vanilla to make perfume.
»  Vanilla was able to block quorum sensing in bacteria.
»  The essential oils of vanilla and vanillin are sometimes used in aromatherapy.


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