Where Vanilla Beans Come From

Where Vanilla Beans Come From?

Most vanilla beans available today are from Madagascar Mexico and Tahiti. As with wine chocolate and coffee vanilla from each country has its own distinctive flavor profile and characteristics owing to the different climates soils curing methods and vanilla species.

Do vanilla beans grow on trees?

The vanilla orchid is a vine-like plant that grows up trees. The vine can grow up to 30 feet long. The most widely used orchid to produce vanilla is the Vanilla planifolia. … The vanilla pod is frequently referred to as the bean.

How are vanilla beans created?

Vanilla comes from the vanilla orchid native to Mexico where it has been used since ancient time by the indigenous peoples. To produce vanilla the vanilla seed pods from the orchid are fermented and then dried.

Is it possible to grow your own vanilla beans?

Try growing your own vanilla beans for a fresh supply of vanilla year-round. … Vanilla plants are climbing plants that prefer high humidity and bright indirect sunlight. They also require ample water and extremely warm temperatures. If you can provide the right growing conditions you can grow your own vanilla at home.

Why are vanilla beans so expensive?

Why is vanilla extract so expensive? … Over 80% of the world’s vanilla is grown on the island of Madagascar which has been recently hit with terrible weather. Failed crop yields have caused the prices of vanilla beans to soar to nearly $600 per kilogram which is 10 times more expensive than it was a few years ago.

Where does pure vanilla extract come from?

Natural vanilla extract comes from the vanilla orchid which when pollinated produces a pod containing vanilla beans. Cured and fermented beans are ground up and soaked in alcohol and water to create the liquid extract you find at the grocery store.

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Does all vanilla come from Madagascar?

But how did one island come to dominate the vanilla industry? … After all vanilla isn’t even native to Madagascar. The main source of vanilla is the Vanilla planiflolia orchid. Long cultivated in Mexico the flavoring from its long pods was used in rituals and in the traditional Aztec drink of ground spiced chocolate.

Why is vanilla grown in Madagascar?

Combined with the hot humid climate and rich soil hand pollination by the country’s skilled and patient farmers has enabled Madagascar to become the world’s top vanilla producer in both quantity and quality.

What’s wrong with vanilla extract?

The FDA agrees. Since 1977 the FDA has mandated that in order for a company to call its product “vanilla extract ” the product must contain a minimum of 35 percent ethyl alcohol. That means yes drinking pure vanilla extract could get someone pretty drunk but it could also get that person very very sick.

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Is it hard to grow vanilla beans?

Vanilla bean plants aren’t especially hard to grow but if your outdoor climate isn’t ideal they’re well-suited to the greenhouse as well as indoors among other houseplants.

Can I grow vanilla beans in Texas?

Subscribe for only $1* per mo.! Plant a vanilla orchid in a very loose potting mix and keep it moist at all times. Apply a water-soluble plant food every few times that you water it.

Can I grow vanilla beans in California?

The vanilla orchid comes from tropical regions of Mexico Central America northern South America and the West Indies but you can grow it in Southern California in a greenhouse or other controlled environment where the temperature never drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

What country has the best vanilla beans?

Mexican vanilla beans from the genus planifolia have a reputation for being the best vanilla beans in the world – vanilla did originate in this area so you shouldn’t be surprised. Mexico actually had a monopoly on vanilla beans until the 1800’s explorers started exporting them to other countries.

Why is vanilla so cheap in Mexico?

Artificial vanilla extract is affordable and is the vanilla extract predominantly sold in countries that produce vanilla beans. … That’s why in Mexico even though the country grows very fine beans artificial vanillas dominate the market.

Can vanilla go extinct?

Vanilla an orchid native to South and Central America is facing the highest risk of extinction with all eight wild species found in the region listed as endangered or critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened plants and animals.

Does vanilla come from orchids?

Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla primarily obtained from pods of the Mexican species flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia).

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What is the difference between imitation vanilla and pure vanilla extract?

Pure vanilla extract is made by steeping vanilla beans in water and ethyl alcohol. If vanilla extract is “pure” it means that the vanilla flavoring comes from only the vanilla bean so the price is a little higher. … Imitation Vanilla is made using (you guessed it) imitation ingredients which often contain chemicals.

What is the difference between pure vanilla extract and vanilla extract?

The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans extracted using 35%+ alcohol – that’s it! Don’t be fooled by extracts that claim to be pure imitation and clear vanilla utilizes artificial flavors and harmful chemicals.

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What country is the largest producer of vanilla?


Madagascar renowned for its high quality vanilla is the world’s leading exporter of the spice accounting for half of global production.

Who invented vanilla?

Vanilla is a native of South and Central America and the Caribbean and the first people to have cultivated it seem to have been the Totonacs of Mexico’s east coast. The Aztecs acquired vanilla when they conquered the Totonacs in the 15th Century the Spanish in turn got it when they conquered the Aztecs.

What is the difference between Madagascar vanilla and regular vanilla?

Madagascar vanilla

Also called bourbon vanilla Madagascan vanilla comes from the same plant and has the same basic flavor notes as Mexican vanilla. The only significant difference is that in Mexico the plant is pollinated by a bee and in Madagascar humans need to pollinate the flower leading to its higher price.

What percentage of vanilla beans come from Madagascar?

Madagascar supplies 80-85% of the world’s natural vanilla. In the 19th century the French introduced Bourbon vanilla a tropical vine orchid native to Mexico and parts of South America to their African island colony. Vanilla represents 20% of Madagascan exports worth around $600m at current prices.

Are vanilla beans toxic?

Coumarin is a the bad guy of the vanilla industry. … The bean can be used to make flavoring very similar to vanilla. Sadly the concoction is dreadfully toxic and can cause liver damage and is a known carcinogen. Coumarin is used extensively in synthetic vanillas manufactured in Mexico.

Is vanilla poisonous?

Vanilla extract contains ethanol the same type of alcohol found in beer wine and hard liquor (and other types of flavoring extracts perfume cologne aftershave and mouthwash too). … But a child who swallowed the contents of a bottle might be at risk of alcohol poisoning.

Can you eat vanilla beans raw?

Here’s the deal on nutrition with vanilla beans: you’ll need to opt for the whole beans and scrape the powder out (the pods really aren‘t as edible though you can use them and they won’t hurt you) or you can buy vanilla bean powder (which is pre-scraped beans that you don’t have to fool with but much more pricey).

How long does it take to grow a vanilla bean?

about 9 months

Vanilla bean production is certainly not for the impatient. Once the plants flower they must be hand pollinated. Successfully pollinated flowers will produce a bean that takes about 9 months to mature. The four-step curing process takes another few months.

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Can you grow vanilla in the US?

Vanilla orchids grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and 12 thriving in humid conditions and rich moist soil. … It can take three to five years for a vanilla orchid to produce beans and the plant will require hand pollination to help them fruit successfully.

Can I grow vanilla from seeds?

Can I Grow Vanilla From Seeds? Yes you can grow vanilla from seeds but the process is incredibly difficult and untrustworthy. Since vanilla is an orchid it responds the best when propagated from cuttings.

What time of year are vanilla beans harvested?

Harvest. Vanilla pods also called beans (though not beans at all) are ready nine months after pollination. They are ready to harvest when the tip starts turning yellow.

Is vanilla a fruit?

Vanilla is the only fruit-bearing member of the orchid family. The flower that produces the vanilla bean lasts only one day. The beans are hand-picked and then cured wrapped and dried in a process that takes 4 to 6 months.

Can I grow vanilla in Central Florida?

Florida has several naturally growing native Vanilla species whose DNA could make important future vanilla cultivars. Vanilla isn’t commercially grown in Florida but the state has flavor houses where internationally grown vanilla beans are processed for vanilla extract.

Is vanilla bean a root?

Vanilla is an exciting plant to study because it grows as a vine with two different types of roots. These roots help vanilla grow as a vine (more precisely a hemiepiphyte) because terrestrial roots anchor it within the soil and epiphytic roots anchor it to tree trunks.

What is a Mexican vanilla bean?

Cultivated and cured in Mexico Mexican Vanilla Beans are hand-selected for their quality and rich aroma. Moist and flavorful these beans blend sweet and woody notes with a deep spice notes similar to a clove or nutmeg and the vanilla seeds add gourmet visual delight.

Is Madagascar vanilla the best?

Madagascar vanilla beans are consistently ranked as the best vanilla beans due to overall consistency of the vanilla beans that are produced. … It really is great vanilla for making vanilla extract. Madagascar vanilla beans make great vanilla extract there really is no denying that.

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