#atozchallenge: Vanilla

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Black and white, chocolate and vanilla.  Classics in the world of flavors and although vanilla has some B complex vitamins and several important minerals, it usually gets left in the shadow of all the hype about chocolate.  It’s actually a flavoring found in most desserts, baked goods  and many drinks. It’s also expensive, coming in second behind saffron.  Here’s why…

It’s a bean grown by the only fruit bearing orchid around.  It grows in tropical climates, the flower blooms for only one day and when commercially farmed, has to be pollinated by hand.  The pods turn from green to yellow before being picked. They are left in the sun to dry and wrapped to “sweat” for up to 20 days. Follow this with 4-6 more months of air drying and a bit of fermentation before you get the thin, dark bean in the picture above.  The beans inside the pod are scraped out in powder form.   All this is pretty labor intensive from the sound of it.

You can buy the pods in health food stores.  The extract, formed by dripping alcohol over the beans is found in most groceries.   Vanilla sugar is the last form and many people make it themselves – just cut the beans or even just the pods in thirds and place them in sugar to infuse.

I wanted to picture my favorite vanilla concoction but I went to the freezer and it was gone.  I love, love, love vanilla ice cream with the specks of vanilla bean.  So I’m left with this picture, not nearly as mouth watering.  Ice cream will be on the grocery list this week, just sayin’…

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5 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Vanilla

  1. I love vanilla ice cream when you can really taste the vanilla flavour. I had no idea it was so expensive
    Debbie

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