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Vanilla, after saffron, is the most expensive spice in the world.
The word vanilla comes from the Spanish vainilla, meaning “little pod”. Hot chocolate flavor with vanilla is not a recent practice, as the Aztecs were already several hundred years before the Spanish arrived in Mexico, ’1520, vanilla was introduced to Europe by the Spanish and its use has spread worldwide.
Vanilla is the fruit (pod) of a climbing orchid native to Mexico, produced exclusively in that country until the nineteenth century. Attempts were made to introduce the plant elsewhere, but the flowers did not produce fruit. This failure is easily explained: indeed, the flowers of the vanilla plant are naturally pollinated by a bee and a hummingbird beaked living both in Mexico.
Vine, vanilla tends to grow around the trunks of trees, shade leaves promoting plant growth. He gave his first fruit the fourth year and continues for a dozen years, after which it must be replaced. Vanilla beans are picked almost ripe, and are yellow in color and measure 13 to 20 centimeters long. They did not then own the smell of vanilla.
The drying process is very long, which explains the high price of this spice. In Madagascar and Mexico, the pods are quickly blanched in boiling water then drained and dried for several weeks. Their skin wrinkles but remains flexible, and takes a deep brown color. Vanillin, made of tiny white crystals, rises to the surface of the skin, this is the product that gives vanilla its flavor. The pod keeps its flavor longer.
Vanilla is a remedy against fever and a back, he is credited with aphrodisiac properties. It is also widely used in the perfume industry.
The pods are usually sold individually or in pairs, in a sealed tube transparent. You can keep each pod in a jar full of sugar: after three or four weeks, you will have a deliciously flavored sugar.
Add sugar when the pot is empty to be permanently flavored sugar. This will give a delicious taste to your cakes, cookies, sweet tarts, ice creams and sauces. A clove of good quality can serve for several years.