In India, farmers are selling Vanilla bean extracts at Rs 25000 to Rs 30000 per kg. Three states of Southern India – Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are producing Vanilla which is exported globally. More than 3000 farmers are cultivating this bean.
India exports around 40 tonnes of Vanilla which need more to compete with Western countries. The price of this bean will shoot up soon. The top variety is priced at US$470-490. A farmer in India earns Rs 20 lakhs from one acre of Vanilla farm.
Vanilla bean extracts are commercially available for a period of more than a hundred years. Such extracts are very sweet and often used for medicinal purposes.
Along with the extracts, there are additional products that could be prepared from this crop – cookie vanilla, vanilla blend, vanilla paste, vanilla absolute, vanilla oleoresin and many more.
Harvesting of Vanilla Beans
Vanilla beans are harvested when the beans turn from green to yellow. Normally vanilla beans takes two months for drying. To collect good vanilla flavor dried beans are kept in closed enclosures. Beans are then graded according to the height and preserved in iron boxes lines with paraffin paper.
Such processes ad preserved Vanilla bean extracts consists of 25 percent vanillin.
Profitable Vanilla Varieties
Even though there are about 150 varieties of Vanilla available worldwide, only two are used commercially. These are Bourbon and Tahitian. Vanilla bean extracts is made by percolating or macerating chopped beans with ethyl alcohol and water.
The process is usually kept as cool as possible to keep the flavor loss to a minimum percentage. The operation vanilla bean extracts takes about 48 hours.
These extracts will mature in the tanks with the beans from days to weeks, depending on the processor, before being filtered into a holding tank where the amber colored extract remains until being bottled.
Normally 35 percent is the standard alcohol requirement in Vanilla bean extracts. New innovative research helps to develop high quality vanilla extracts. These extracts are stored in a cool dark place, away from bright sn, for better quality too.
Chocolate, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages are prepared from Mexican vanilla. Bourbon and Mexican vanillas have the familiar natural vanillin flavor that we used with Vanilla ice creams and vanilla flavored beverages.
Indonesian vanilla is blended with Bourbon vanilla to create a significant flavor. Indonesian vanilla is also fine with chocolate flavor.
Cookie vanilla is a brand name for a blend of vanillas created by one of the US Vanilla manufacturers. It is blend of Tahitian and Bourbon vanilla which makes it sweet and floral.
Ground Vanilla beans are occasionally used in commercial and industrial products. Ground vanilla is absolutely exquisite in food. Since it is not in an alcohol carrier, it will not lose flavor when we cook.
Exhausted vanilla bean extracts are the ground residue of the extraction process. They may still hold some flavor and are added to commercial vanilla ice creams and other products.
And Vanilla paste is a sweet concentrated vanilla extracts that has the vanilla bean seeds included in a mix. It is very useful in cooking when we don’t want to add much additional liquid.
Aged wine in oak has vanilla flavor. White wine like Banyuls and Sauternes has vanilla flavors. Some red wines like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also known to have vanilla flavor.