Also: vanilla planifolia, real vanilla
Vanilla has its origins in Mexico, where it seasoned the “Xocoatl” of the Aztecs. Thanks to Columbus, it became increasingly known along with chocolate. The Spaniards held the monopoly for over 300 years until smugglers managed to export and cultivate them to other countries. Vanilla planifolia belongs to the orchid family and is the only useful plant among orchids.
The vanilla plant is a 2-3 cm thick climbing plant that winds up to 10 m long on trees. Their leaves are smooth, deep green and arranged alternately. In each leaf axil there are about 20 cm long and 5-10 mm thick fruit capsules from the flowers. The fruit capsules are curved hook-shaped at the base and tapering to a point at both ends.
Recovered plant part: the seed (= vanilla pulp) and the vanilla pod.
They are not harvested (still yellow-greenish), scalded and fermented.
The fermentation process takes several weeks. Air, heat, moisture and the exclusion of air act on the capsules several times and alternately and the typical vanilla aroma can develop. Then you let them mature. Ripe vanilla pods burst open and release the seeds (= the vanilla), which are approx. 0.3-0.5 mm in size.
Vanilla pods (= fruit capsules): deep chocolate brown, longitudinally furrowed and greasy, shiny appearance, are offered in glass tubes, vanilla powder (= ground vanilla seeds), liquid as vanilla extract, mixed with sugar as vanilla sugar. Substitutes: artificial Vanilla flavor, artificial vanilla sugar
Vanillin, alkaloids and 35 other fragrances that contribute to the aroma
Taste and smell:
Taste: pleasant, sweetish-spicy
Smell: delicate, pleasantly aromatic flowery
Cooking and kitchen use:
Vanilla goes well with clove, ginger and cinnamon.
Quality feature: fine white coating, which are tiny needle-shaped vanilla crystals.
Long-cut pods are cooked whole and used for soups, sauces, compotes, flammeries, creams, porridges and poached apples. The scraped-out pulp is used for dough, pastries, cakes, tarts and creams. You can also put the scraped pods in sugar and make your own vanilla sugar.
Sauces: vanilla sauce, fruit sauces, e.g. raspberry fruit sauce
Cold bowls: Vanilla fruit cold bowl, vanilla milk cold bowl with all kinds of fruits
Pastries: vanilla croissants, cakes
Desserts: pear and blackberry casserole, Norman apple gratin, fruit salad, strawberry parfait, vanilla apples, caramel cream, rhubarb groats, chocolate pots, cocoa
Other: Vanilla ice cream with hot raspberries, punch, mixed milk drinks
to refine desserts, the aroma stimulates the appetite.