Vanilla is a flavouring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily obtained from pods of the Mexican species. Pollination is needed to make the plants produce the fruit from which the vanilla essence is obtained.
History of Vanilla plant
In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and learned a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not used commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered at the age of 12 that the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.
Three major species of vanilla currently are grown globally, all of which derive from a species originally found in Mesoamerica, including parts of modern-day Mexico. They are flat-leaved vanilla, grown on Madagascar, Réunion, and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; Vanilla tahitensis, grown in the South Pacific; and Vanilla pompona, found in the West Indies, Central America, and South America. The majority of the world’s vanilla is the flat-leaved species, more usually known as Bourbon vanilla (after the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon) or Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighbouring islands in the South Western Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia. Madagascar’s and Indonesia’s cultivations produce two-thirds of the world’s supply of vanilla.
Benefits of Vanilla plant
- Vanilla, through its antibacterial effects, helps cleanse your skin, reducing the appearance of pimples and acne.
- Sipping water or milk containing vanilla extract helps reduce anxiety in some people.
- Vanilla infused herbal tea can relieve digestive problems. Water boiled with vanilla beans is a traditional remedy for vomiting and stomach upsets.
Why investing in Vanilla beans?
- The vanilla flavour is more intense in the beans. The longer the bean, the better the flavour.
- Mostly used in many recipes.
Today, over 80 per cent of the world’s fine-quality natural vanilla is exported from Madagascar. The country produces the second largest vanilla harvest in the world and Malagasy vanilla accounts for about a quarter of the global vanilla market.