V is for …

Vanilla Beans

Fun Facts

  • The best vanilla beans are in pods which are fragrant, dark brown or black in colour, glossy, moist, supple and long.
  • The thing black seeds are scraped from the pod using a sharp knife.
  • You should never store vanilla beans in the fridge as they will go hard and crystallise. You should keep them in cool and dark place.
  • There are over 150 different types of vanilla.
  • Most vanilla is used in the dairy industry, to create yummy ice creams, yoghurts and flavoured milk.

Where do we come from?

Vanilla beans were first grown in Mexico, though they are no longer the leading growers of the plant. Growing vanilla beans is very tricky and it requires lots of work and dedication from farmers. Today, most of the world’s vanilla is grown in Madagascar or Indonesia. Other countries such as China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Turkey are also growers of the plant, however they grow a lot less than the leading countries.

Test yourself! Can you locate all of these countries on the map?

The Vanilla Orchid

Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family. The beautiful flower only blooms for 24 hours. During this time it must be pollinated or else it will die. The vanilla is taken from the beans that grow along the vines. After the beans are picked, they are treated with hot water and then they are left in the sun all day for weeks (or sometimes months) until they have shrunk to 20% of their starting size.

We think that these flowers are beautiful and definitely some of the prettiest that we have ever seen! What do you think? Send us some pictures of some of your favourite flowers in the garden!

Get Cooking! Easy vanilla ice cream