Frequently Asked Questions
What is vanilla?
Vanilla is the fruit of the Vanilla Planifolia or Vanilla Tahitensis orchid plants. These are the only two species that are grown and whose fruit is sold commerically for the purposes of making vanilla products for the world’s enjoyment.
It is a climbing vine that grows in tropical lands where there is no frost, a temperature from 70-90 degrees, frequent rain and a dry season at least once a year. Its growth habit is to attach itself to trees and other structures where it intertwines its long stems and leaves. It’s blossoms are white with a yellow hue, and painstakingly hand pollinated because the Melipona bee that used to pollinate them is both endangered in Mexico and does not exist in the countries that grow vanilla today.
From each bud springs a little pod that when it reaches its full size, resembles a long, bloated giant green bean. Orchid plants thrive in dappled light, and farmers in far away lands monitor their crops for both disease and theft.
When mature, the beans are picked and their journey begins from the land on which is was grown, eventually ending up in market towns to be cured in curing houses. There, the beans are sweated repeatedly in an endless process by being wrapped in fabric folds, unwrapped and exposed to air and the sun’s rays where they gradually over time attain a rich brown chocolate color. At night the beans are rolled up and brought back inside. Curers are highly skilled at knowing the exact time for curing and when the beans are ready. Some countries use a speedier method where hot water is made to do the work of the sun.
When the beans have been fully conditioned, which can take months, curing houses bundle them up and ready them for sale and export.
What countries grow vanilla?
Vanilla Planifolia and Vanilla Tahitensis are grown in a wide range of countries, including Madagascar, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Uganda, Tahiti, and Papa New Guinea. Manion’s Vanilla is made from a world blend of finest vanilla beans. Depending on the batch, the beans used in Manion’s Vanilla can come from any one of these countries. This is because our buying process is driven by sourcing the best beans. Therefore, we do not sell our extract based on country of origin like many manufacturers.
The quality of vanilla beans can range widely year to year based on weather and economic conditions of the country of origin. As the bean blender, Ann Manion sources the best beans for each batch from the most trusted sources.
How do I store Manion's Vanilla Extract?
Manion’s Vanilla is bottled in dark amber bottles, “Boston Rounds”. It should not be refrigerated. Storing your vanilla in a cupboard out of sight is common practice, but I don’t recommend that for those who enjoy using #vanillaeveryday. As long as it is how of direct sunlight and away from a heat source, it is perfectly acceptable to keep your vanilla within view and easy reach. In your kitchen, display your Manion’s Vanilla on surfaces near where you cook, bake and prepare coffee and cocktails.
What's in Manion's Vanilla Extract?
Perfectly pure, Manion’s Vanilla is made from 2 simple ingredients: the extractives of a world blend of premium Vanilla Planifolia and Vanilla Tahitensis beans, and premium 40% alcohol. We use more beans than is required by FDA standards. There are no additives including stabilizers and NO sugar.
Unlike some vanilla extract manufacturers who use grain alcohols like Everclear, and then add water of undefined sources to achieve 35% alcohol for their extract to meet FDA requirements, we consider the spirits in which we extract our beans to be quite important.
We would never make our extract with an alcohol we wouldn’t drink straight up in the most captivating libation. We favor local, craft 40% premium alcohol for our infusion process, which is a higher grade of alcohol required by FDA standards.