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Vanilla

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The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”

For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Vanilla.

vanilla fun facts

The Facts: The definition of the word vanilla is “little pod” in Spanish.

  • The Aztecs called vanilla tlilxóchitl, meaning black flower. This indicates that they were more interested in the cured bean, which is a dark brown, rather than the flower itself which is a greenish white.
  • Vanilla is extracted from the cured pods (beans) of the orchid flowers from vanilla vines.
  • May 22nd is Vanilla Pudding Day.
  • The vanilla vine is an orchid which is indigenous to South Eastern Mexico. Dating back to Cortez’s conquest of the Aztec Kingdom in 1519, it is one of the most ancient flavors.
  • French vanilla beans have the distinction of being called “Bourbon” Vanilla because the cultivation first started on the island of Reunion, East of Madagascar. At the time, it was known as the “Island of Bourbon.”
  • A few drops of vanilla will cut the acidity of tomato-based foods.
  • Just like grapes that make wine, no two vanilla beans are the same in flavor, aroma, or color.
  • It is possible to grow the same vanilla vine in Madagascar, Indonesia, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and India, but all five cured beans would have their own distinctive flavor due to differing soil and climate conditions.
  • The aroma of vanilla is known as calming, relaxing, and sensual, and used as an aphrodisiac in some cultures.
  • A 1990s study of patients undergoing tests at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that the scent of vanilla soothed patients — especially while undergoing magnetic resonance imaging.
  • With a love of botany and cooking, President Thomas Jefferson was the first American to bring vanilla to the United States.  Jefferson brought vanilla beans home to the US in 1789 following his tenure as ambassador to France. The United States is the largest consumer of vanilla in the world, followed by Europe (France represents most of European consumption).
  • To accentuate flavors, add a few drops of vanilla to most recipes that contain fruit, vegetables, meat or fish.

Vanilla Facts We Missed

Please feel free to let us know if we may have missed some in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.

Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Vanilla.

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