4 Surprising Facts About Vanilla

4 Surprising Facts About Vanilla

Think you know vanilla? Think again. Vanilla has a rich and interesting history that goes way beyond the default ice cream flavor.

1. It’s the Fruit of a Rare Orchid

For being so entwined in our everyday lives, vanilla has to travel far to get to where you are. It comes from a rare climbing orchid, Vanilla planifolia, most commonly found in Mexico, Madagascar and Indonesia.

2. It’s One High Maintenance Fragrance

The vanilla bean’s journey isn’t an easy one. It takes nine months to develop, two hands to pollinate and can only be harvested on one day. The vanilla bean is not easy to acquire. In fact, it's the second hardest harvest in the world. Plus it still needs to be picked, fermented and sundried. Only then does the vanilla bean emit its rich and warm aroma that weaves into your oldest memories.

3. It Has a Rich Scent With a Rich History

From smugglers to bees to botanists, everyone has tried to harness the power of vanilla. In fact, it's almost 500 years old! It's been used for everything from rituals, perfume and medicine to a key ingredient in the Aztec's royal beverage, Xocolatl.

Want to experience vanilla like an Aztec royal? Try out this recipe for Xocaltl.

4. It’s a Feel-Good Memory Booster

Vanilla is beloved by all due to its strong effect on memory. It's known to easily stir up memories like the comforting feeling of home or the warm childhood memory of a soft blanket covering each and every toe. What ties these feelings together? Vanilla. Used in cooking, fine fragrance and aromatherapy, this pure and delicate spice leaves a long-lasting impression.

What’s your fondest memory of vanilla? Discover your own vanilla inspired memories on Pinterest. #FeelGlade