Supple, dark brown pods of an exceptional quality, approximately 18cm long. Sweet, fruity and rich in vinalline with a full-bodied, generous aroma. The presence of vinalline crystals on the pods is proof of their quality. Use them to flavour warm milk, pastries, custards, ice creams, stewed fruit, jams, fruit salad and punch. Leave a couple of pods in a jar of sugar to make wonderful natural vanilla sugar.
How to use: Use the point of a knife to split the pod along its length. Use the blade of the knife to scrape the inside of each half of the pod thus removing the seeds. Then put both the seeds and the pod into your cooking preparation.
If you are using milk or cream be aware that they contain enzymes that can degrade the aroma of vanilla giving a disappointing result. To avoid this it is recommended to use long-life (UHT) milk and cream or to boil them for at least 5 minutes before adding the vanilla.
Characteristics of high quality Bourbon vanilla: The level of vanilline is between 1.8% and 2.3%. The level of humidity for black vanilla is between 25% and 35%. The aroma should be a clean and pronounced scent of vanilla, without woody notes. Well prepared vanilla pods can develop a frosting on the outside, this is the result of the crystalisation of the essential oil of vanilla. This is therefore an additional indication of the quality of the pods.
Vanilla pods are the fruit of an orchid. Discovered in Mexico it was brought back by the French to the court of Henri IV in 1604. In the second half of the 19th century the cultivation of vanilla was developped on the Réunion Island then on Tahiti, Madagascar and the Comoros. Today two varieties of vanilla are grown commercially; Vanilla planifolia known as Bourbon vanilla (Indian Ocean) and Vanilla Tahitensis known as Tahitian vanilla.