Vanilla is a common flavouring that is used in food and drinks around the world. It can be found in pod form and in the Vanilla Extract that you can find from places like www.foodieflavours.com/shop/flavours/natural-flavouring/gorilla-organic-vanilla-extract/. It is an ancient ingredient that has its roots in the Aztec world, where it was added to cacao and turned into a delicious spiced drink.
Here are some interesting facts about vanilla that you might not have heard.
- Madagascar is the largest producer of vanilla plants in the world, with up to 80% of the worlds vanilla consumption coming from the country.
- Vanilla grows as a vine, similar to grapes.
- The flowers have to be pollinated by a bee as they are naturally hermaphroditic plants.
- The flowers of the vanilla plant don’t last very long and in some cases, this is less than 24 hours. This makes it a labour intensive plant as the growers have to inspect them every day. This makes it an incredibly expensive spice, only second to saffron.
- There are 3 main types of vanilla that are grown today. One is grown in Madagascar, one in the South Pacific regions and the final one in Central and South America and the West Indies.
- Vanilla extract is made by percolating chopped vanilla beans and then allowing the liquid to age for a few months before it is then bottled and sold.