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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Your Food Questions Answered "Vanilla"

Every now and then someone asks me a question about food so to fill that need I will post the question and answer sources on this blog:

Todays subject is about Vanilla

The vanilla plant belongs to the Orchid family. The photograph from Wikipedia is of a Vanilla Orchid flower. There are about 110 species of Orchids and the Vanilla Orchid is one of them. Many people like to grow this orchid as a house plant.

Pat, Jean and Marionne would like to know "How does the Vanilla plant grow and where does it grow?"
They are a vine-like plant that climbs trees or posts provided by the farmer as you will see in the videos. One of the most tedious jobs when you are growing commercial Vanilla Orchids to harvest the vanilla pods is hand pollinating each flower. Blooming occurs only when the flowers are fully grown. Each flower opens up in the morning and closes late in the afternoon on the same day, never to re-open. If pollination has not occurred meanwhile, it will be shed and the vanilla pod will not grow.
I searched Youtube to find videos that will clearly explain the growing process that goes into our favourite flavour for ice cream and many other products worldwide.

This is a short video that is good for an introduction to the world of Vanilla Orchids.
Brief history of the vanilla plant

After looking at many videos I decided this one is the best for picture quality and commentary.
Best video of a farm tour in Hawaii

Close-up of the Vanilla Orchid flower

The green on the map shows the distribution of the Vanilla Orchid plant.

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