[23-365] 28th August 2020- Thanks to Camellia for posting about buttermilk ice cream. I am half way through making it and it already tastes fantastic and I haven't even frozen it yet.
It must be our only "spice" that comes from the seed pod of an orchid.
After harvesting the pods have to be sweated. Sweating is a hydrolytic and oxidative process. Traditionally, it consists of keeping fruits, for 7 to 10 days, densely stacked and insulated in wool or other cloth. This retains a temperature of 45–65 °C (113–149 °F) and high humidity.
They also have to be dried. Reduction of the beans to 25–30% moisture by weight, to prevent rotting and to lock the aroma in the pods, is always achieved by some exposure of the beans to air, and usually (and traditionally) intermittent shade and sunlight. Fruits may be laid out in the sun during the mornings and returned to their boxes in the afternoons, or spread on a wooden rack in a room for three to four weeks, sometimes with periods of sun exposure.
They also have to be conditioned. Conditioning is performed by storing the pods for five to six months in closed boxes, where the fragrance develops. The processed fruits are sorted, graded, bundled, and wrapped in paraffin paper and preserved for the development of desired bean qualities, especially flavour and aroma. The cured vanilla fruits contain an average of 2.5% vanillin.
So in case you were wondering why Vanilla pods are so expensive.............?