Vanilla Beans

Vanilla is a flavouring that can be derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla. It is a product which finds a great position among the gourmet. It is widely used for both commercial and domestic purpose such as baking, perfume creation and aroma therapy. Vanilla or vanilla orchids are flowering plant genus. Among the vanilla orchids, the most widely known member is the Flat-leaved Vanilla. It is the only orchid widely that is used in the food industry and also in the cosmetic industry. The botanical name of Vanilla include Vanilla fragrans (Salisbury) Ames, Vanilla planifolia Andrews, Vanilla pompona Schneider, Vanilla tahitensis Moore and the family name is Orichidaceae. However, in all Indian languages and dialects, it is called Vanilla. 

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 coloured, uncrystallized, stronger and slightly bitter. All beans contain thousands of tiny black seeds.


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