What's In A Vanilla Bean?
What to Look for When Sourcing One of the World's Most Expensive Ingredients
Did you know that, after saffron, vanilla is the most expensive spice in the world?
The vanilla extract that we buy in grocery stores is usually nothing compared to the real deal! Real vanilla is sweet, exotic, and full of flavour explosion - perfect for infused honey like in our Crème Brûlée honey.
The chemical vanillin gives vanilla beans its flavour; this molecule is also present in wood pulp, which is where most of the low-cost vanilla extracts are obtained. Beyond vanillin, vanilla beans have around 250 taste components, giving it an incredible level of richness.
What’s in a Vanilla Bean?
A fun fact: vanilla beans aren't even beans! They're made from a fruit orchid that requires time, care, and a very particular environment. Inside each vanilla bean, there are small pods that carry specks of black seeds inside them. Although the specks are very tiny, they have the best aroma when opened!
Types Of Vanilla Bean
Before sourcing your vanilla bean, it’s important to understand the different kinds and flavours:
- Bourbon; these long and thin vanilla beans come from Madagascar. They are the most popular with its overwhelming sweet taste, making it a great delicacy for many. Here at Chandler Honey we only use the best of the best! Our vanilla beans come from Madagascar, making our Créme Brûlée infused raw honey a sweet treat.
- Mexican vanilla beans; these guys are not only sweet but they have a hint of spice in them…kind of like a sprinkle of cinnamon. Mexican vanilla beans are completely different from Bourbon, they are a lot smaller and have a whole other taste element
- Tahitian; the most delicate of the three is Tahitian vanilla. These beans are considered to have a stronger aroma than flavour. You’re more likely to see Tahitian vanilla in fragrances.
What to Look for When Sourcing Vanilla
Consider the growing region of vanilla beans
When sourcing vanilla beans, it’s important to take a look into the region. As mentioned before, there are 3 types of vanilla beans and each comes from a different region of the world. Each type has different aromas and unique flavours.
Consider the quality of the vanilla bean
When searching for vanilla beans online, you may come across a few wordings such as “Grade A” and “Grade B”. The difference if these two grades is in its moisture level:
Grade A: often called ‘gourmet vanilla beans’, this quality is usually purchased by chefs! There two reasons as to why Grade A is great for cooking and adding to recipes:
- The extra moisture of the vanilla bean makes it more appealing to the eyes
- The vanilla flavour is easily distributed onto the ingredients…it does its own infusion!
Our Créme Brûlée infused honey uses Grade A vanilla beans; it gives the best vanilla flavour when we infuse the ingredient with our raw honey!
Grade B: they are often called ‘extract vanilla beans’; great for extracting flavour. These beans are excellent for extracting taste! The vanilla flavour is more intense since the beans have a lower moisture level. Grade B vanilla beans will work nicely if you are producing an extract or can soak the beans in liquid before completing your recipe. This quality is also significantly less expensive than gourmet vanilla beans because they are a lot lighter
Try It Today!
Chandler Honey is proud of the high quality of our ingredients! Creme Brulee continues to be our best-selling flavour, and a large part of this comes from the care we took when sourcing our vanilla beans. Try our Creme Brulee honey for yourself today!