Vanilla, native to Mexico, is a well-known spice. Its use dates back to the Meso-American era when the Totonac Mexicans used it in rituals. It is now grown in many places, with Madagascar and Indonesia being the largest producers responsible for more than 90 percent of global production. It is from Indonesia and neighboring Papua New Guinea that ours come from Gourmet Tahitian "Chocolate" vanilla and Gourmet Bourbon vanilla.
Where is he from?
vanilla it grows on a vine that rises on trees or wooden poles. In nature, it will grow as high as possible, but on plantations the height is reduced to where farmers reach, so that all the vanilla fruits can be harvested. This method results in promoting flowering and increasing plant productivity.
A vanilla flower is an orchid that produces a fruit that is the result of flower pollination. However, pollination is not easy because the plant has male and female organs that are separate to prevent pollination. Natural pollination can only be carried out by a certain type of bee origin living in Mexico. When growing vanilla outside Mexico, the plants must be pollinated by hand.
Interestingly, this artificial pollination is still carried out in the same way as in 1841, when the method was discovered. Pollination occurs as follows: the membrane that separates the male and female portions of the flower is joined by a bamboo shoot. This will move the pollen from the male to the female.
How does he get to us?
Vanilla plants are propagated with cuttings. The new cut takes up to 18 months to form a small yellowish orchid. Each flower blooms in just a few hours, so our farmers they must carefully control the plants during the day to pollinate as many flowers as possible. A few weeks after pollination, long green beans - vanilla beans - will grow. The beans remain on the vine for 9 months to develop their unique flavor. When the bean is harvested, it has no flavor or taste until it is dried.
There are different ways of drying vanilla pods. In order not to ferment the vanilla, the bean enzymatic process must first be stopped by using hot water or by heating in an oven. The beans are then dried in the sun for several months and then placed in wooden boxes where they "sweat" 80% of their moisture. Then comes the moment when its distinctive taste and vanilla aroma.
As you can see, the process of processing vanilla is really laborious and lengthy. The time from pollination to the final product lasts more than a year! All the more amazing ours vanilla from Papua New Guinea taste. Its fruity tones and unique aroma add a touch of exoticism to use vanilla to fruit dishes, desserts, cakes, smooties, puddings, topping and various drinks, eventually enriches our tasty coconut vanilla sugar.