Vanilla beans

Title Info
Common name Vanilla
Scientific name Vanilla fragrans
Taxonomic group Orchidaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Economic botany Food plants
Food plants Seasonings
Date 1985
Location Costa Rica,North America

Vanilla. A native of Central America and Mexico, this is the only orchid used as a food. In most areas where it is grown, the flowers have to be pollinated by hand. The unripe fruits (often called ?beans? though they are not legumes) are harvested, then heated and dried in several stages, after which they are allowed to sit for a few months before they are ready to use as a flavoring.