- ASIN: B00DHLF0N6
- Date first available at Amazon.ca: June 19 2013
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,104 in Patio, Lawn & Garden (See Top 100 in Patio, Lawn & Garden)
Grade A Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans 6~7" (1 lb)
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Vanilla may easily be one of the most well-known flavors in the world. The flavor is derived from the ripened fruit of a tropical orchid, Vanilla planifolia, the only orchid in the world that produces an edible fruit. In the wild, vanilla vines (which attach themselves to living trees) may grow to a length of 80 feet or more. At the time of Cortez's visit to the New World, the conquistador observed the Aztec royalty enjoying a sweet drink of vanilla-scented chocolate. Impressed, he took sacks of vanilla beans back to Europe with him along with the gold and gems of the defeated Aztec empire. For the next few hundred years, attempts to cultivate the vanilla orchid outside Mexico and Central America proved futile, until a 12 year old French slave discovered how to hand-pollinate the plant in 1841. Even so, the bulk of the world's supply of vanilla is provided by only a handful of countries (primarily Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti). It is the world's costliest spice after saffron, as the growth process is long and painstaking. Vanilla orchids bloom for only a day, during which time they must be pollinated by hand. Even after the plants have produced their pods, they must be checked daily so that each pod is harvested at just the right time. After harvest, the pods go through an elaborate process of being killed, sweated, dried, and conditioned in order to maximize the flavor and fragrance.
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