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.
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.
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 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.