this one about three spices in Zanzibar and thought wow! I never knew that about any of them! So, I feel inspired as part one of blog changes, to post weekly about spices or trees or something else cool about nature that just makes you smile and want to stay in your car until you hear the whole thing! Except, in this case, read the whole post because you are learning something so neat and new.
So, I'm starting with vanilla. I knew it was an orchid, and the most lucrative one at that, but did you know it only blooms a flower once a year! If the bloom hasn't been touched by noon, it dies and then no vanilla pods can emerge! So, hand pollination is required. The word vanilla is derived from the Spanish word vaina which means little pod.
Once the pod emerges, it is not ready to harvest for six months! Each pod ripens at its own time, requiring a daily harvest. Each pod must be picked by hand just as it begins to split at the end to ensure the best flavor and commercial value. Thus the reason vanilla is the second most expensive spice at the store. Wow. I just had no idea how labor intensive it was, and now I understand the price tag.
In any recipe that calls for vanilla, I almost always double the amount required. I love it! I even add it to my pancakes made from scratch. Next week, I'll let you in on another spice I use in everything! How about you all? Do you use extra vanilla, or stick the amounts listed in recipes?