Ratings & Reviews
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
- THE STORY
Delicious vanilla flavor is found in both the bean and the seeds, so try to use them both. Split the bean lengthwise with a sharp knife, scrape out the dark, pulpy seeds, add both the bean and seeds to a warm liquid base such as a sauce or cream, and steep. By steeping, you'll best be able to pull out the full flavor of the vanilla bean. You can also put the whole bean in the liquid without scraping out the seeds. In this case, remove the bean when you're done. Rinse, dry, and save to use again. The bean can be used as long as it has its strong characteristic aroma and is moist and pliable. Once the bean becomes dry and brittle or loses its aroma, it should be discarded.
One whole vanilla bean is approximately equivalent to one tablespoon of pure vanilla extract.
It is best to store vanilla beans in a tightly sealed container away from direct sunlight and at room temperature. Stored under such conditions, vanilla beans will last for at least a year before needing replacement.
Nielsen-Massey's dedication to quality is matched only by their commitment to their customers: to provide pure vanilla and flavor products of unparalleled excellence, batch after batch, time after time.
ABOUT MADAGASCAR BOURBON VANILLA
Vanilla is the most popular and widely used flavor in the world, and yet it is only grown in a few countries and regions. Originating in Mexico, vanilla was introduced to Europe by the explorer Cortez around 1520. Even after its discovery by Europeans, Mexico remained the sole grower of vanilla for another 300 years.
Vanilla beans are harvested from the only edible fruit-bearing orchids now known. In Mexico, an indigenous tiny bee called the Melipone is responsible for the natural pollination resulting in the production of the fruit. It is the curing process of the beans that develops the final flavors of the vanilla. This process can take from 3 to 6 months, and is a very labor intensive process.
Around 1793, a vanilla vine was smuggled from Mexico to the Bourbon Island of Réunion. Just east of the southern portion of Africa, the Bourbon Islands are made up of Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoro and Seychelles. Hence, when we refer to Madagascar Bourbon, we're referring to the region and not to the liquor.
For the first 50 years at Réunion, the growth and production of vanilla struggled. Without the Melipone bee, the flowers weren't being consistently fertilized. In the mid-1800's, an efficient method for fertilizing the flower by hand was developed.
Eventually, the plants made their way to Madagascar where hand pollination proved advantageous over natural pollination. Combined with the climate and rich soil, hand pollination by the country's skilled and patient farmers has enabled Madagascar to become the world's top vanilla producer in quantity and, some would argue, quality.
The sweet, creamy and mellow flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is the taste most people associate with vanilla. This flavor, and the bean's ability to hold that flavor in both hot and cold applications, make it an exceptional "all-purpose" vanilla to use for a wide range of recipes - from cooking to baking to ice creams and buttercreams.