Interesting facts about vanilla
Vanilla is one of the most popular and at the same time most expensive spices in the world. Few know, however, that the pods grow from the fragrant white flowers of fifteen different species of orchids. The best-known types are real vanilla, also known as spice vanilla, Tahitian vanilla and Antillean vanilla, also known as Guadeloupe vanilla.
Cultivation and harvest are very demanding, since the plant is tied to certain climatic conditions. For example, real vanilla is mainly found on Madagascar, La Réunion and other islands in the Indian Ocean. As the name suggests, the Tahitian vanilla grows on the island of Tahiti in the Pacific and the Antillean vanilla in the Caribbean. There it prefers to grow in forests and climbs up trees with its adhesive roots. To make matters worse, the vanilla has to be artificially pollinated and only blooms for a few hours before the flowers wither again.
The main ingredient in vanilla is vanillin. This is largely responsible for the flowery sweet aroma and the health-promoting properties of vanilla. Each pod contains between 1.5 and 2.4% vanillin.