What precautions should I take before buying vanilla?
Vanilla is a key ingredient in many desserts and dishes, and its quality can vary considerably depending on several factors. It is often associated with desserts, such as creams, ice creams, cakes and pancakes. It is also used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products.
If you are considering buying vanilla, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure that you are getting a quality and valuable product.
Sambavanilla, gives you more information on the precautions to take before buying vanilla.
What are the different types of vanilla?
Vanilla is grown in several countries, including Madagascar, Reunion, French Polynesia, Mexico and Indonesia. Each country has its own quality and cultivation standards. Madagascar vanilla is the most commonly used in the food industry, but vanilla from Reunion and Tahiti is also renowned for its superior aroma and quality.
The two main varieties of vanilla most commonly found are Vanilla Planifolia and Vanilla Tahitentis, which are actually related to the varieties of orchids that produce them.
Bourbon vanilla, also known as Madagascar vanilla, is the variety most commonly used in culinary preparations. It is distinguished by its sweet taste, intense aroma and soft texture.
Bourbon vanilla is often used in classic pastry recipes, such as custards, creme brulee and cakes, as it has a sweet, creamy flavour that blends well with the other ingredients in the recipe. It is commonly used in ice creams and frozen desserts, as well as with hot drinks such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as it adds a smooth, rich flavour.
Tahitentis vanilla is characterised by a fruitier taste. It is often used to flavour light desserts, such as fruit salads, sorbets or mousses. Tahitian vanilla is also used in cosmetic products, thanks to its delicate and exotic aroma. It is also used in seafood dishes and sauces.
To choose the most suitable vanilla variety for your needs, it is important to take into account the characteristics of each variety. As you can see, if you are looking for a vanilla to flavour rich and creamy desserts, planifolia vanilla will be the most appropriate, whereas if you prefer a lighter and fruitier vanilla, Tahitian vanilla will be a better choice.
By choosing quality vanilla, you can fully enjoy its subtle aroma and delicate flavours, regardless of its origin.
What are the criteria for quality vanilla?
The appearance of the vanilla is the first criterion to be considered. Vanilla beans should be uniformly coloured, shiny and slightly oily, with no spots or traces of mould or insects. The pods should also be plump, without being too dry or soft.
Sometimes vanilla pods are scarified and this is used by producers to identify the cultivation property of the vanilla pods. If your vanilla beans are scarified, this does not affect the quality of the beans.
The moisture content of vanilla can affect its quality and shelf life. Quality vanilla should have a moisture content below 35%. Above 35%, vanilla beans will have difficulty keeping over time. Note that if you buy vanilla by weight you will pay a high price for all the water in the vanilla.
Below 25%, vanilla beans become hard and brittle and lose some of their flavour. Low-moisture beans are also called "red vanilla", characterised by a reddish-brown colour that appears when the beans are exposed to the sun for a long period of time during the vanilla preparation stages.
The pods should generally remain soft and flexible.
Texture is also a consideration. Vanilla beans should be soft and chewy, without being too dry or hard. In addition, they should be easily bendable, without breaking.
Vanilla is often graded according to its size, appearance and moisture content. The most common grades of vanilla are Grade A, B, and C. Grade A is generally considered to be of the highest quality.
Fragrance is also an essential criterion for recognising quality vanilla. Vanilla beans should have a strong scent with notes of caramel, vanilla and wood. If the aroma is too weak or if it is altered, it is likely that the vanilla is not of good quality.
Finally, the price of vanilla should of course be taken into consideration. Although price is not always an indicator of quality, it is important to consider the prices on the market to avoid scams. Extremely low prices are often a sign of low quality vanilla, but very high prices do not always guarantee the best quality either.
In order to recognize quality vanilla, it is recommended to buy it from a reliable and reputable supplier, like our company Sambavanilla.
What should I consider before buying vanilla?
First of all, it is recommended to buy vanilla from a specialised shop. Our staff have extensive expertise in vanilla and can offer you personalised advice on choosing the most suitable vanilla variety for your needs. We support sustainable and responsible agriculture by working with independent producers in Madagascar.
It is also important to check the information on the vanilla offered. Therefore, on our website, the vanilla beans are well described, with information on their origin, variety and quality. You also have the opportunity to check the delivery information and payment terms before you finalise your purchase.
Finally, it is recommended that you buy vanilla in small quantities when you first buy it. This will allow you to test the quality of the vanilla and ensure that it meets your expectations before making a large purchase.
Buy your vanilla from Sambavanilla!
Buying quality vanilla requires careful attention to selection criteria such as the appearance, colour, texture and smell of the vanilla beans, as well as the variety most suitable for your needs. Poor quality vanilla beans may contain chemicals and substances that are harmful to health. Therefore, it is important to choose a trusted vendor to ensure you get the highest quality products.
By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can take full advantage of the delicious flavours of vanilla in your cooking.
Place your orders via our online shop!