The best vanilla beans are Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
- Grade A vanilla beans
- 5-7 inch long vanilla bean pod
- millions of vanilla beans in each vanilla bean pod
- lavish and aromatic
- velvety creamy flavor
- oily dark colored appearance on the exterior vanilla bean pod
- cures for 6-9 months after pollinating for maximum flavor
Grade A vanilla beans are used by chefs worldwide creating gourmet dishes.
Grade A vanilla beans
- oily – contain the most moisture (>30%)
- dark in appearance
- long length (6-8 inches)
- no blemishes – perfect outer appearance
Madagascar produces over 40% of the world’s vanilla beans. But many vanilla beans are not grade A. If the vanilla bean has blemishes, brown or red coloring on its exterior pod, or must be cut to remove any disease, these vanilla beans do not qualify for a Grade A rating.
Why is Madagascar Vanilla expensive
Madagascar is prone to climatic changes. In 2017 a cyclone went through a region growing vanilla and wiped out 30% of their vanilla crops. Vanilla takes a long time to grow and cure, therefore with this devastation, vanilla bean prices increased due to demand and lack of supply.
How is a vanilla bean grown
While farmers vanilla bean plants are growing, they are actively watching for any sign of a vanilla blossom.
A vanilla flower only blooms once a year, and the flower must be pollinated within 4-10 hours. Vanilla beans are typically pollinated by hand.
Vanilla beans must be harvested within 2 months after they have matured, or they will become too ripe and will not be usable.
The vanilla beans are then cured for 3 months. Vanilla beans are now ready for shipping and packaging.
Where does vanilla come from
Vanilla mainly comes from Madagascar (40%) and Indonesia (30%).
Where does artificial vanilla flavoring come from
Artificial vanilla flavoring comes from a byproduct of a pulp mill. Wood contains “lignin” which is used to create vanillin synthetically. Lignin is chemically treated into making vanillin. Vanillin is the flavoring used in artificial vanilla. It isn’t have as complex of flavoring as actual vanilla extract.