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    vanilla bean(s)

Food Percentage of DRI per 100 grams

We love using real vanilla not just because of the amazing flavor and aroma, but also because it has some remarkable nutrition.

Vanilla is actually a fruit from the Vanilla planifolia orchid. There are 35000 types of orchids in the world, but only one produces a fruit. Vanilla originated in Mexico, but they grow in various other places such as Tahiti, Madagascar, Indonesia, Uganda, and India.  

Vanilla beans are mineral rich, containing trace minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Vanilla is also medicinal food, with remarkable health promoting properties for both body and mind. It has a calming effect on the nervous system and is an effective treatment for anxiety and stress. The aroma of vanilla beans alone has been shown to increase feelings of relaxation and happiness. One of the major medicinal compounds in vanilla beans is called vanillin, which even in small doses is a known for releiving pain and improving digestion. 

Each vanilla bean contains over 25,000 flavor-packed seeds that works wonders in smoothies, icecream, frostings, chocolate and baked goods. The pods can be saved for steeping in hot tea, making vanilla extract, infusing jams, sugars, liquid sweeteners and of course vanilla custard. 

Vanilla beans can be quite pricey, and the price tags seems to have increased quite a lot lately. This is because there has been a worldwide shortage of vanilla beans. And because the pollination of vanilla orchids is labor intense and time consuming. All vanilla has to be hand pollinated and it is a labourious and time consuming process that takes 12-14 weeks. 

A budget alternative to real vanilla seeds is to use vanilla powder consisting of dried whole vanilla pods that have been ground to a fine powder. And in certain recipes vanilla seeds can be exchanged for vanilla extract. But when making vanilla icecream, "cheese"cake, custard or panna cotta, real vanilla seeds are essential, as there is no other way of producing those distinctive black seeds that testify of a high quality vanilla dessert. 

Vanilla can also be found as essential oil. Food grade vanilla essential oil can be a wonderful alternative to real vanilla seeds. Just a few drops in chocolate, icecream or smoothies adds an amazing flavor. 

Considering that vanilla comes from an orchid tells us something about the vibration of this food and why it is so highly valued and priced.

Vanilla essential oil is also great to use as a bath oil for a healing and soothing vanilla infused bath. It can also be added to coconut melted coconut oil or cacao butter to create a vanilla massage oil. And considering that commercial perfumes contain very questionable ingredients, many people have stopped using them entirely. Essential oils have become a great alternative to perfume, and vanilla essential oil in particular.