Vanilla, a sought-after flavour compound that is extremely stubborn. This article will open your eyes to the process undergone for vanilla pods to end up in your kitchen. What makes it so finicky is the flower, a flat-leaved vanilla orchid, that opens up only one day every year.
If you missed that annual opportunity to pollinate, you would have to wait another year! All this changed in 1841 when a 12-year-old slave boy, named Edmond Albius, discovered that the vanilla orchid could be manually pollinated using a sliver of wood or a needle. This is how it’s still done today, flower by flower. The vanilla farmer must wait until the vanilla pods are ready for harvest in six to nine months after pollination. The pods are harvested one by one when they are fully-grown and as they begin to ripen. Each step from that point risks failure. It needs to be washed, sorted, cured and aged, for at least a month, before it is ready to be distributed.
Vanilla is the second most expensive spice worldwide. The process is manual and lengthy that it is no wonder why it is so costly.
For more information, go to https://www.saveur.com/how-vanilla-took-over-the-world