Like all fruits, vanilla begins with a flower: A single orchid that opens up on only one day every year, and if you fail to pollinate it, that’s it. No vanilla bean.
In 1841, it was discovered that is was possible to manually pollinate the orchid using a sliver of wood or a needle. And that’s how it’s still done today: painstakingly, flower by flower. After this delicate operation, the vanilla farmer must patiently wait for the pod to ripen and darken before it can be harvested. From there, the pod is washed, sorted, cured, and aged for at least a month, each stage of which risks failure. It could easily be a year after its initial harvest before a ready-to-use vanilla pod ends up in your kitchen.
Tribal Vanilla beans are grown and cured in the tropical region of Ibanda, Uganda.
They source some of the world’s most aromatic Grade A vanilla beans.
1. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a sharp knife
2. Scrape the tiny black vanilla beans out from the inside of the pod
3. Use the beans directly in any recipe
4. The empty pod and leftover beans can be used for infusing into any other foods such as meat, sugar, cream, drinks etc.
Storing Vanilla Beans
1. Reseal the package to keep the unused beans moist and fresh
2 Store in a dark, cool location
3. Do not refrigerate