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The Vanilla World

Vanilla preparation

Malagasy method At the beginning... The preparation method described below, known as the " Bourbon method", has been adopted by the majority of producing countries.After picking, the preparation of the…

Malagasy method

At the beginning...

The preparation method described below, known as the ” Bourbon method”, has been adopted by the majority of producing countries.
After picking, the preparation of the vanilla consists of a series of 6 operations.
Each phase is important.



This operation consists of immersing wicker baskets containing green vanilla pods in water heated to 65°.

The immersion lasts about 3 minutes and allows the mortification of the pods.



The pods are then placed in large wooden boxes padded with woolen blankets to prevent any loss of heat for 12 hours – steaming or sweating.
It is at this stage that the vanilla takes on its chocolate color, the catalysis of the fermentation allowing the subsequent development of the characteristic flavor of vanilla.



It is done in the sun and in the shade. The pods are arranged on racks.
If drying in the sun lasts only one to two weeks, drying in the shade, after sorting, lasts more than a month.


The packing

The pods are then placed in wooden trunks lined with parchment paper for eight months. The perfume appears late, it becomes more refined during this period. The trunks are checked weekly to remove moldy pods.



The pods are measured and classified one by one into “split”, “unsplit” and “black and red”.
Length and color determine the value of vanilla. Pods of the same length and classification are usually tied together and grouped into bundles.
Each bootie weighs approximately 250 grams (70 to 100 pods), with the weight and number of pods varying according to grade.


The conditioning

The pods are packed in boxes of tin or reinforced cardboard lined with parchment paper.
The vacuum packaging of untied vanilla but sorted in batches of 1.5 or 10 kg and allowing better preservation, is now commonly used even if this measure was temporarily suspended in 2017 at the request of the Malagasy government.

All of these operations lead to a weight loss of 40 to 50% compared to the initial weight.

The cultivation and processing of vanilla require continuous attention, ancestral know-how and require a very large workforce. This large workforce partly explains the high cost of vanilla grown in French areas.
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