The vanilla creeper is part of the orchid family, hence its beautiful flower.  Pollination of the flower is done by hand.  It takes about 8 months for the vanilla to be ready once the green beans have been picked.  The green pods are first blanched rapidly and after that they are put to dry alternatively in the sun and in wooden boxes.
Cured vanilla is the fruit of hard labour over a long period of time.


How do you use Vanilla?

The vanilla pod needs to be split in 2 and the pulp/seeds scraped from the middle of the pod with the tip of a sharp knife. This pulp will be full of flavor but even the bare pod that’s left over still hold a great flavor. Usually both the pulp and the pod will be used in a mixture with the pod being taken out at the last minute as it is not nice to eat as such.


How do you store Vanilla?

Vanilla is best stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. It does not need to be refrigerated. Alternatively you can keep your vanilla in your jar of sugar. It will keep well and it will flavour your sugar at the same time.


How is vanilla grown?

Vanilla comes from a creeper of the orchid family. It grows well in warm humid areas, Madagascar being the main producer. Vanilla creepers grow on trees in natural environment, otherwise they are set to grow on poles.


Can one vanilla pod be used twice?

As long as a pod has a good smell it can be used. For instance if you scrape off the vanilla seeds/pulp from a pod to put in a cake/dish you could use the remaining pod in a custard or sauce after keeping it in your sugar jar to flavor your sugar.


Can a vanilla pod that has gone hard still be used?

When a vanilla pod gets ‘older’ it tends to lose some of its humidity making it hard and brittle. It is however still fine to use and will often have developed even more taste and aroma. It can still be split in 2 and it will be full of seeds and pulp.


What is crystallization of vanilla?

When the vanilla pod is very rich in vanillin it sometimes forms little white crystals on top of the vanilla pod. Crystallization is in fact sign of good quality and it is safe to consume.