Vanilla beans are long, thin, black seed pods of the Vanilla genus of orchids, used as spices in a variety of culinary applications. Vanilla beans are used in the production of vanilla paste, vanilla powder, and pure vanilla extracts. See: Vanilla extract, pure

Health considerations

The primary flavor component of vanilla beans, vanillin, is associated with numerous beneficial properties. Vanillin is also a possible trigger for migraines. See: Vanillin

Keep in mind

Three major species of vanilla bean are cultivated: Vanilla planifolia, Mexican vanilla; Vanilla tahitensis, Tahitian vanilla; and Vanilla pompona, Madagascar or Bourbon vanilla. Each vanilla bean species has a unique aroma and flavor profile. Vanilla planifolia is the most commonly grown.

May be found in

Desserts, confectionery, custards, crème anglaise, ice cream, frozen desserts


See: Vanillin

Alternative spellings and names

Vanilla, Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla pompona, Vanilla tahitensis, Mexican vanilla, Madagascar vanilla, Bourbon vanilla, Tahitian vanilla

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