Vanilla beans are the fruit of orchids (genus Vanilla). Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a solution.
Native to Central America and Mexico.
Spanish colonists brought vanilla back to Europe in 1519.
Synthetic vanillin (created from many different sources) contributes to 95% of the vanilla flavoring found around the world.
“The Bittersweet Story of Vanilla” by Simran Sethi (2017)
New Oxford Book of Food Plants by John Vaughan et al. (2009)
“What is Vanilla (And Why Is It Sooo Expensive)” by Sarah Jampel (2019) https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-vanilla