Vanilla Orchid Vine
You may be surprised to discover that one of the most popular flavors in the world, vanilla, comes from an orchid.
The vanilla orchid vine (Vanilla planifolia) is native to tropical forests of Central and South America. It was first used by Aztecs to flavor their chocolate drink.
In its natural environment, the flowers are pollinated by a specific insect that inhabits the same areas as this orchid. When grown commercially, outside of its native habitat, the flowers must be pollinated by hand for the long bean to develop.
The beans are harvested, dried and cured. This long arduous process explains why vanilla is the second-most expensive spice in the world.
As the demand for vanilla outgrew the supply artificial vanillin was created. This synthetic version is made from a variety of items including the lignin from paper pulp. Imitation vanilla extract is derived from synthetic vanillin not the vanilla plant.
A bit more information: Curing the vanilla is also labor intensive. The beans are dipped in boiling water, dried in the sun and covered at night. This takes several months for the vanilla flavor to develop.
Upcoming Live Events
Feb. 28, 2024
Create a Beautiful Landscape Free of Invasive Plants in Wisconsin Gardens
Feb. 29, 2024
How to Plan Your Rain Garden
March 6, 2024
Growing Summer Bulbs in Containers
March 7, 2024
Wauwatosa Public Library
March 13, 2024
Hydrangea Selection, Pruning & Care
March 14, 2024
How to Select Rain Garden Plants
March 20, 2024
Maximize the Beauty and Enjoyment
in Any Small Space
March 23, 2024
REALTORS Home & Garden Show
West Allis, WI
March 27, 2024
How to Start a Garden for Beginners
April 3, 2024
Franklin Public Library
April 10, 2024
Container Gardening Throughout the Year
April 11, 2024
7 Steps to Managing Water Where it Falls in Your Yard
April 20, 2024
Pasquesi Home & Gardens
Lake Bluff, IL
April 27, 2024
Ridges & Rivers Book Festival
April 28, 2024
Ebert's Greenhouse Village
May 1, 2024
Ornamental Fruits and Vegetables
WATCH ON-DEMAND WEBINARS