Ah vanilla, who doesn’t love it? Its unique flavor has managed to conquer everyone from age 7 to 77! Even its story is one of a kind… Vanilla is actually from South America, used by the Aztec and Maya people to make cocoa and vanilla beverages. However, it wasn’t them who grew this rare flower.
A famous legend from the Mexican gulf says that vanilla comes from a princess’ blood, who, when she died, turned into a beautiful orchid and gave vanilla.
It was on one of the great Spanish travels to America that vanilla was discovered and brought to Europe. But what made this flavoring so popular was that it was simply impossible to grew outside of its original land. This aroused a lot of mystery and fascination about this special plant.
Today, vanilla is mainly grown in tropical areas, especially in Madagascar where they produce 60% of the global production. But one of the best is definitely the one from Tahiti, more precisely from Tahaa island. It is also the most expensive vanilla in the world.
You can find vanilla in many forms : liquid extract, sugar, paste,... However, the most natural form is the bean, or pod. It contains thousands of little black seeds which will flavor any of your recipe!
How to take the seeds out ?
The first thing to know is how to pick the right bean out : it must be thick, flexible, dark brown and shiny. Then, take a look at this quick video to see how to take the seeds out.
So, now that you know how to use a vanilla bean, here are some recipes to use it!
It's the most common way to use vanilla, especially in French pastry, which use vanilla and rum as its major flavors.