Most of the vanilla in the world comes from Madagascar, Reunion Islands, and Mexico. Tahitian vanilla is much more rare. Grown from its own species of vanilla orchid plant, the "Vanilla tahitiensis," Tahitian vanilla beans are a different type of vanilla altogether. They have darker, thicker, shorter beans that contain more water and oil than the Vanilla planifolia types. The Vanilla tahitensis beans also have a unique flavour and aroma, typically described as being floral and fruity. Tahitian vanilla is a delicate bean with a distinct taste that isn't like the regular stuff you're used to. Rather than being sweet and strong, Tahitian vanilla beans have a subtlety that also make them excellent for their use in perfumes and fragrances.
This type of vanilla is very susceptible to heat, so it's most ideal for foods that don't require intense heat to prepare. Also delicious in cold dishes like refrigerated and frozen desserts, smoothies, puddings and custards. When baking, remember that one tablespoon of vanilla extract = one vanilla bean.
Third generation siblings own and operate this family business which has been around since 1907. Growing up around vanilla, they have spent their whole lives learning about the production of vanilla and best methods of extracting. When the beans come in to the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla plant in Waukegan, Ill., they are inspected by looking, touching, and smelling, and then released for production. They're separated into batch sizes and, for vanilla extract, are sent to the milling machine, which splits the beans. The split beans are loaded into stainless-steel extracting tanks with a capacity of up to 1,300 gallons. Water and alcohol are circulated over the beans, and the finished vanilla is filtered into one of the holding tanks to await bottling. The cold extraction process is critical to maintaining original flavor from the source, since heating would burn off flavor esters.
4 oz. bottle of vanilla extract made from Tahitian vanilla beans. Has a rich, intense aroma with fruity and sweet overtones. Kosher and Gluten free. Made in Illinois. Pictured with Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract.
4 oz. bottle
Water, Alcohol (35%), Sugar, Vanilla Bean Extractives
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