Vanilla, a fragrant orchid from Mesoamerica

Don’t you love the smell vanilla beans! Vanilla is such a versatile spice you can use it in ice cream, baking and even perfume.

Vanilla Beans

Here are a couple fun facts about vanilla!

– The Totonac people, who inhabit the East coast of Mexico in present-day state of Veracruz were the first to cultivate vanilla.

– The word vanilla is, derived from the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning sheath or pod), is translated simply as “little pod”.

-Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive

-Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs.

-Three major species of vanilla currently are grown globally, all of which derive from species originally found in Mesoamerica including parts of modern-day Mexico.

-Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is credited with introducing vanilla to Europe in the 1520s.  

If you want learn how to make homemade vanilla extract, check out the recipes page!

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