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  Vanilla Production





The quality and size of the crop is dependant on many factors including the soil composition, the climate, and how well the vanilla is cured.

Vanilla is the most labour intensive agricultural crop, and can take months after the beans are harvested to be processed into what we commonly see as vanilla. The process requires a skill which takes many years to perfect.

The beans take three years to produce a reasonable crop after planting, and then produce a fruit that looks similar to runner beans which takes up to nine months to ripen. Pollination is a difficult process as the plant only blooms for a few hours during which the manual process of pollination has to take place. A good worker can pollinate up to 1500 flowers in one day.

The plant can grow up to 350ft in length and is pruned and trimmed to keep them in reach of the harvesters. When ripe the beans start to turn yellow and are usually between five and ten inches long. There are around 100 pods per plant and these pods are odourless until they have been dried and cured. Curing is done drying in hot water, the sun, or other heating methods, a process that can take weeks or months, after which they develop their distinctive aroma. They are then sorted by size and quality by hand and left for a couple of months to fully develop their flavour. Once cured, they dry out and lose weight; about 5 kilos of green vanilla provide 1 kilogram of dried vanilla beans.

As you can see it is a time-consuming process, meaning that in places like Madagascar, which is now the largest vanilla producing country in the world, vanilla beans are so valuable that some beans in each batch is branded with the owner’s special mark in order to protect themselves from vanilla thieves.

The vanilla pod contains millions of tiny black seeds which themselves contribute to a large percentage of the total flavour of the vanilla, and hence the greater the number of seeds the better. This is what was referred to earlier as “vanillin”, and the more of this there is in the vanilla pod, the greater the taste and fragrance. The careful drying process mentioned earlier will ensure the beans have the correct moisture content – between 20 and 30%, and it also has as impact on the vanillin content remaining in the pod – hence this is not a process to be rushed. However, due to economic pressures various attempts have been made to speed up the drying and conditioning process-which can take as much as 8 months- sometimes even using an oven. Indonesian vanilla production has increased dramatically in recent years and they use the oven drying process regularly resulting in a lower quality bean, one which may sometimes have sufficient vanillin but usually has a low moisture content, or vice-versa, making it unsuitable for premium food grade applications.

Our Madagascan Bourbon vanilla is cured naturally and this particular type is commonly regarded as the best vanilla by many food critics. This is the reason it is found in the most famous branded ice creams.

 

10 Gourmet Madagascan Vanilla Pods
10 Gourmet Madagascan Vanilla Pods
Only £6.49 -
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10 Premium Madagascan Vanilla Pods
10 Premium Madagascan Vanilla Pods
Only £9.99 -
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Madagascan Vanilla Infused Caster Sugar 200g
Madagascan Vanilla Infused Caster Sugar 200g
Only £3.75 -
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Madagascan Vanilla Powder 20g
Madagascan Vanilla Powder 20g
Only £8.95 -
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Purity Vanilla Extract with Seeds 50ml
Purity Vanilla Extract with Seeds 50ml
Only £7.49 -
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Purity Vanilla Extract 50ml
Purity Vanilla Extract 50ml
Only £7.19 -
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Purity Intense Vanilla Extract 50ml
Purity Intense Vanilla Extract 50ml
Only £9.69 -
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Purity Intense Vanilla Extract with seeds 50ml
Purity Intense Vanilla Extract with seeds 50ml
Only £9.99 -
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Madagascan Vanilla Seeds 250g (Exhausted)
Madagascan Vanilla Seeds 250g (Exhausted)
Only £20.00 -
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Madagascan Vanilla Caviar 20g
Madagascan Vanilla Caviar 20g
Only £19.95 -
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Vanilla Essential 250g
Vanilla Essential 250g
Only £17.50 -
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Premium Madagascan Vanilla Pods 250g Tin
Premium Madagascan Vanilla Pods 250g Tin
Only £31.99 -
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Madagascan Vanilla Powder 500g Tin
Madagascan Vanilla Powder 500g Tin
Only £39.95 -
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Organic Madagascan Vanilla Powder 20g GB-ORG-04
Organic Madagascan Vanilla Powder 20g GB-ORG-04
Only £10.95 -
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Supreme Organic Madagascan Vanilla Pods 1Kg Tin GB-ORG-04
Supreme Organic Madagascan Vanilla Pods 1Kg Tin GB-ORG-04
Only £79.99 -
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Supreme Fairtrade Organic Madagascan Vanilla Pods 1Kg Tin GB-ORG-04
Supreme Fairtrade Organic Madagascan Vanilla Pods 1Kg Tin GB-ORG-04
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