Vanilla beans are magical. Not only do they look like fairy wands and have an aroma that always brings me to a standstill, but these beans have the ability to transform scoops of ice cream into childhood memories and dishes of creme brulee into marriage proposals.
Why Vanilla Beans Are So Special
Vanilla beans are the fruits of a few very particular kinds of orchids, and they require special growing conditions and careful handling to thrive. Once harvested, the pods also have to be dried, cured, and then aged all before becoming the baking ingredient we know and love. This means that real, whole vanilla beans are one of the most expensive spices in our cupboards. But vanilla beans return the favour by providing us with such rich, intense aromas and flavours in our baked goods. They’re a special ingredient, but worth it.
Health benefits of vanilla
Vanilla beans are one of the expensive non-pungent spices used especially as a flavouring agent in a wide array of sweet drinks and confectionaries.
The vanilla paste is chiefly composed of simple and complex sugars, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals.
The chief chemical component in the beans is vanillin.
This condiment spice also contains small traces of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.