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The Essence and Importance of Vanilla in Cooking

By Treeves Subscribe to RSS | January 17th 2012 | Views:
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Imagine savoring that wonderful pound cake or the rich cookies without any flavor or sensing a pale taste turning your cake or cookie to a horrible snack. Flavor is indeed an essential ingredient in most of the food items and when we talk about flavor one sure thing that comes to our minds is the scent of a perfume extracted from vanilla that gives a pleasant flavor to most of the baked stuff and pastries. Vanilla extract is something found on the kitchen racks of each and every household and almost all of us use it in numerous recipes. Adding it to a freshly brewed pot of coffee gives it a nice flavor if you are looking for a change in that morning cuppa. Children often end to like the vanilla flavored products a lot and feeding them becomes hassle-free with just a hint of extract in their food. For instance, if your kid is reluctant to gulp calcium-rich milk, adding a bit a vanilla essence to the milk will do the magic and you no-longer have to struggle.

The extract of vanilla, with its unmistakable scent and exotic flavor is acknowledged world over for its culinary use. The extract or the essence is obtained from the pods of the vanilla plant. Vanilla pods grow on the vines of the vanilla plant supported to a pole or a tree and is plucked when they are mature to be harvested and ready to be processed. The pods or the beans undergo a vigorous process of killing, sweating, slow-drying, and conditioning of the beans known as curing to acquire that distinct aroma and flavor. There are different species of vanilla grown all over the world and they are categorized based on their quality which attributes to appearance, flexibility, the length and the vanillin content. High quality beans are long, fleshy, supple, dark in color, slightly oily to touch and has strong aroma. Low quality beans are usually hard, dry, thin, brown or reddish-brown in color and possess a poor aroma. The different cultivars are Bourbon, Mexican, Tahitian and West Indian vanilla.

Vanilla, though yields best when professionally cultivated, can also be grown in the backyards or in your kitchen garden. As I surfed the net on my computer connected to Verizon FiOS Internet, to research on techniques involved in cultivating vanilla, I was awestruck by the amount of information that I could amass within few minutes and no wonder Internet is a genie that dishes-up any type of details in minutes. With the help of little acquired knowledge from Internet I intend to grow a small creeper in my garden just for fun. Vanilla is known to be the 'green gold' and is mostly the means of living in underdeveloped counties. It's also a key agricultural product in places like Mexico, Indonesia, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti and Fiji where the climate and geographical conditions are the best suited to turnover a good yield.

Vanilla is surely a key essence required in most of the food items and without which a delicious cake, cookie or an ice cream becomes unimaginable and tasteless. Apart from its implications in kitchen, vanilla is also used in the medicinal and cosmetic industry. It is used as a perfume and the vanilla oils are used in aromatherapy. Sometimes it was used to reduce fever, heal wounds and avoids nausea as implied in the old medicinal times. The scent is known to reduce anxiety and stress and studies have shown that the extract has a positive effect on people dealing with emotions. With number of significant uses and nutritional benefits vanilla is truly a 'green gold'.

Treeves - About Author:
Tina is a food fanatic who likes to write about the uses of the wonder plant vanilla, its implications in the form of extract and essence and also does research on her computer powered by Verizon FiOS Internet to collect information on the methods of growing vanilla.

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