Vanilla is a food flavoring agent derived from the Vanilla orchids which originally belong to Mexico. The flavoring attribute mainly comes from the bean or the seed pod of the plant. The processed beans of vanilla are slender, deep brown, pleated and around 8 inches long. The pliable and tough beans are covered with a crystal frosting or givre, which are rich in vanillin, the component responsible for making the seed flavorful. The fermented seed pods are called fine vanilla while the uncrystallized pods with a lighter color, shorter length, stronger flavor and mildly bitter taste is called woody vanilla. All aromatic beans of the vanilla plant are packed with small black seeds. Most vanilla recipes use vanilla extract, which is equally flavorful and aromatic as the pods. Currently, there are three global cultivars of this flavoring pod plant and these include V. planifolia or Madagascar-Bourbon, V. pompon and V. tahitensis. In Italy, this flavoring agent is known as vaniglia whereas in Spanish speaking countries, it is known as vainilla. In French and German, it is called vanille. Some of the best known vanilla recipes are lemon and vanilla posset, vanilla fruit compote and vanilla ice cream.
History of Vanilla
Culinary Uses of the Vanilla
Non- Food Uses of Vanilla
2. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron.
3. Substances trademarked as vanilla flavor are often synthetically prepared from clove oil, coal tar and waste paper pulp, which is forbidden in many countries.