Vanilla is a flower from a genus of orchids with 110 species distributed worldwide in tropical regions. The best known is the species Vanilla planifolia that produces a fruit from which you get the flavoring, vanilla. It is a species from the American continent. The Spanish conquistadors of Mexico, knew this spice in the coasts of Veracruz, they gave that diminutive name because its fruit resembles the sheath of a small sword, similar to the green beans or chauchas.
To obtain a really rich spice full of aromas, the cultivation and preparation of vanilla need long and meticulous care. That makes it, in proportion to the weight, and after the saffron, the most expensive spice. There is also synthetic vanilla, but flavor and aroma are not comparable to the natural one.
The history of vanilla is associated with that of chocolate. The Mexica, and before the Maya, enriched with vanilla a thick drink made from cacao. This drink was intended for the nobles and the warriors, and was known by the name of xocoatl.
According to a Mexican legend, the vanilla plant was born from the blood of Princess Tzacopontziza (“Morning Star”) in the place where she and Prince Zkatan-Oxga (“Young Deer”), who had kidnapped her for love , Were captured and beheaded by the priests of Tonoacayohua, goddess of harvests. The prince was reincarnated in a vigorous bush and the princess became a delicate orchid vine that sweetly embraced his lover. Since then, and even today also, the Totonacas call the vanilla caxixanath, which means “flower hunted”, sumixanat, or, more briefly, xanat.
Vanilla is grown in Mexico, Central America, the northern part of South America, Madagascar and parts of Indonesia because of the climate it needs.
It grows in tropical areas, in humid areas without wind, with average daily temperatures of 25 ºC. For its optimum production it is important that there are frequent rains but without forming stagnant water, and that the rains are distributed during 10 months to the year followed of 2 months of drought to allow a correct growth of the plants and formation of the flowers.
The vanilla plant has aerial roots, and in nature they climb up to the top of the trees to bloom.
In the plantations, the cultivation takes place in vines of the height of a person to facilitate the work during their pollination and harvest. Thanks to this dedication, the plant generates many more flowers, arriving to obtain more than 100 flowers of vineyard. During the flowering only eight hours are available to fertilize them or if they do not die.
Uses of vanilla
-Flavoring food preparations
As a flavoring, vanilla is an elaborate essence using the seed pods of the vanilla orchid flower. The agri-food industry accounts for between 80% and 85% of global demand. It includes the chocolate factory, the ice cream shop, and the soft drink manufacturers. The original recipe of Coca-Cola used natural vanilla, but not today, which changed it by synthetic extacts.
The aroma of vanilla is present in perfumes, candles, soaps, incense, etc.
In the form of essential oil, tincture or infusion.
Gastronomy and Confectionery
Vanilla is used in salty dishes, although in pastry is very precious: ice cream, smoothies, cakes, puddings, custards, and cookies, adding a little essence or cooking the pods in the broth of the preparation. A stronger aroma can be obtained by cutting the pods in half; In this case, the small black grains found in the interior release its aroma. Some of the recipes include banana split, Bordeaux canelés, egg custard, waffles filled with vanilla, custard, rice with milk, or Chai tea, to name a few.
Known to be antidepressant, antioxidant, anticancer, tranquilizer and reduce the symptoms of influenza, vanilla is a healing plant used around the world:
Among its properties we can find benefits as diverse as increasing muscular energy, reducing blood pressure and improving mood and anxiety, avoiding the possibility of suffering from depression.
Helps sleep and rest better, stimulates the senses and activates the brain. Its sedative properties help relax the muscles in those who suffer from stress or anxiety, and also helps prevent convulsions due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Relieves rheumatism, allergies and arthritis.
Women use it to treat dysmenorrhea.
It can also lower the fever and relieve tooth and gum pain.
It has aphrodisiac properties, anticancer, and also helps in sickle cell anemia, relieving pain and fatigue.
Applied to the skin works well as a mosquito repellent. And applied topically, it helps to improve the levels of hydration of the skin and hair. Due to its antioxidant properties, it allows to avoid the premature aging of the skin.
You can find vanilla in our products: chocolates, truffles, carrot cake, muffins.
Allergens: may cause allergy.
Storage conditions: either in sheath or powder, it should be kept in hermetic glass containers and store in a cool, dry place.
Preferred date of consumption: It keeps years beyond the date of optimal consumption, although the aroma loses strength over time.