Indonesian Vanilla Beans
Vanilla Beans, (Vanilla Planifolia) are the seed of the climbing orchid, originally from Southern Mexico where they grow wild. When the Spanish arrived in Central and South America the Aztecs were already using Vanilla as a flavoring agent for drinks. European entrepreneurs tried to establish commercial plantations in the far east from samples of the wild Mexican orchids. The initial attempts were unsuccessful due to lack of pollination. The solution was discovered on the island of Reunion, in the Indian ocean. A slender piece of bamboo was used to lift away a membrane that allowed a worker to smear pollen bearing stamens against the pistils. This technique is still used today. Indonesian Vanilla Beans have a rich sweet flavor and are the thinnest bean of the Vanilla Bean family. Approx. 125 beans in a pound.
Vanilla is great flavoring for chocolate, coffee, ice cream, cakes, cookies, fruit desserts and most sweet dishes. Surprisingly, a small amount of Vanilla is good with certain rich dishes such as lobster or veal. The beans are added to the food and then removed prior to serving.
Split beans in half lengthwise, and scrap out seeds to add to recipes.
Storage & handling
Store in a dry, cool place.
French vanilla sauce is only made correctly using fresh vanilla beans. Bourbon Madagascar beans are the premier vanilla for rich, deep flavor and plump seed packed beans. Use this elegant sauce over cakes or as the best ice cream ever.