Vanilla Facts For Kids
Do you like the taste of vanilla?
It is one of the most popular ingredients in food, and you may have had a vanilla-flavored ice cream recently, especially if the weather has been warm and sunny!
Let’s learn some facts about vanilla!
Picture of an orchid (learn more below)
Fun Facts About Vanilla
Vanilla is an orchid (plant), and it is one of the few orchids that actually produces fruit.
There are over 150 varieties of vanilla plants – that’s a lot!
The vanilla flower blooms for around a day, and then must be pollinated. Otherwise, it dies.
Vanilla plants only grow in hot climates close to the equator.
Vanilla is made by extracting the pods (beans) from the vanilla plant.
While the beans are being harvested, they are placed into hot water and laid out in the sun where they shrink over the following days.
Vanilla was first used by in Mexico by the Olmeca people, who first used it for flavoring (maybe in ice cream? Maybe not!).
Vanilla is used more in the United States than anywhere else.
There are actually two types of vanilla beans; vanilla planifolia and vanilla tahitensis.
Guess what – vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States!
Vanilla is not just used in food – it is also used as a scent in perfumes and as a flavoring in medicine.
Vanilla actually means ‘little pod’ in Spanish. That is the origin of the name, which makes sense since they speak Spanish in Mexico, where vanilla was first used.