Why Is Vanilla So Expensive?

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron. It's expensive because it's both labor-intensive and time consuming to grow. The plant that produces vanilla beans only blooms for a few hours each year. If pollination is successful, it will take another eight to nine months until the plant matures.

More facts about vanilla:

  • Vanilla is native to Mexico and because a specific type of bee, also native to Mexico, pollinated it, Mexico was the only place vanilla could be produced for hundreds of years. Today, most vanilla comes from Madagascar, and nearby islands like Réunion.

  • Most vanilla, even in Mexico, is pollinated by hand, contributing to the high cost of vanilla for consumers.

  • There are four main types of vanilla, based on where the vanilla comes from: Bourbon vanilla (from Madagascar), Mexican vanilla, Tahitian vanilla and West Indian vanilla.

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Post 2

This article is interesting, not just because of the subject matter, but also because it relates to a lot of other spices as well. In general, of lot of plants and spices we use in our day to day cooking are not only much more expensive than at first glance, but on top of that, they take a long time to produce. It really gives you a new appreciation for the lengths that some people are willing to go to ensure that others get what they're looking for.

Post 1

Wow, I didn't know that so much work went into making vanilla. Who would have ever thought that the same ingredient we constantly use in our cakes and cookies was such a labor intensive item?

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