We can’t deny that Vanilla is a highly popular flavor or a well-sought-after spice used in various items such as foods and cosmetics.
Madagascar vanilla beans are what you’ll call the standard of vanilla beans. If you’d like to know more about this top-tier product and its uses, you’re in the right place.
With our experience and close-up relationship with Madagascar farmers, we’re here to reveal all you need to know about this high-quality spice.
Madagascar Vanilla Beans: A Brief Overview
Madagascar vanilla beans, or Bourbon-cured vanilla beans, are premium vanilla beans produced on the island of Madagascar, which lies off the southeast coast of Africa. It may be worth noting that Bourbon-cured has no connection to alcohol at all, that it's named because of the history of the Bourbon Islands (now the Reunion Islands)
In fact, Madagascar is well known for its wide array of interesting flora and fauna, so it makes sense that it’d be home to high-quality vanilla beans. Also, the island’s rich, loamy soil and its regular rainfall make it one of the best locations to grow these plants.
Interestingly, Madagascar beans aren’t native to the island. They come from an orchid species, vanilla planifolia, which is native to Mexico. However, farmers in Madagascar grow and cure vanilla orchids completely by hand.
From the important process of ripening the vanilla to the commencement of the four core phases of curing: dipping, sweating, drying, and conditioning, thus contributes to the delicate curing process of vanilla beans.
This carefully thought-out curing process is one of the reasons that Madagascar vanilla beans have a higher concentration of vanillin (the primary organic compound of vanilla bean extract) than beans from other places.
It’s important to note that artificial vanilla flavoring pales in comparison to the extract obtained from Madagascar Bourbon-cured vanilla beans. The former is usually obtained from wood pulp and lacks the other organic compounds found in real vanilla beans. Hence, artificial vanilla lacks the fruity, spicy, and floral flavors that set the authentic Madagascar beans apart.
How Can You Use Madagascar Vanilla Beans?
Don’t know how you can use this spice? Here are some of the uses of this highly reputable plant.
You can use vanilla beans to make homemade vanilla extract, which will go a long way in meeting your daily kitchen needs.
From desserts to cakes, drinks, and smoothies, there’s no limit to what you can do with vanilla sugar or extract. You can also add it to your cocktail recipes, especially if you’re partial to vanilla’s creamy flavor.
Because of vanilla's natural sweetness, additional sugars and sweeteners often aren't necessary!
Personal Care Products
Vanilla has a luxurious aroma, which makes it a top ingredient for personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, creams, and lotions. Vanilla scented candles and oil diffusers also provide a welcoming aroma for all of your living spaces.
Buying Madagascar Vanilla Beans: What to Look Out For
To make up for the high demand for Madagascar vanilla beans, several brands have taken it upon themselves to sell this gold standard of vanilla beans.
However, to ensure that you get only high-quality vanilla beans, here are some factors you should consider before purchasing them:
Always look out for medium-brown to black-colored vanilla pods, as they indicate that the beans are fresher. Be careful, though, as a too-black bean has probably been dipped in other oils. Try to avoid light brown vanilla beans, as they tend to be drier.
As you might have guessed, Grade A vanilla beans are of higher quality than other grade levels. You should also target gourmet vanilla beans because they’re of high quality.
Length plays a significant role in determining the quality of Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. This is because vanilla beans get most of their flavor from the bottom 2/3 of the plant. Therefore, a longer bean equals more flavor. Aiming for 5-8 inch vanilla beans will really provide that bold vanilla flavor you're looking for.
Try to buy Madagascar vanilla beans with a pliable and slightly oily texture — this means they’re fresh. If they’re dry or soggy, there’s a high chance that they’ll split or break apart during vanilla production. Keep in mind that texture can also affect the flavor when making vanilla extract or adding your beans to recipes.
Madagascar vanilla beans are a must-have, and you’ll be doing yourself a great service to add them to your daily needs.
You can contact us if you’d like to know more information about vanilla beans. We’d be more than happy to provide all the information you need.