Vanilla: properties, use, nutritional values

La vanilla is a sweet and aromatic spice with action aphrodisiacs useful against stress and insomnia. Let's find out better.

> Description of the plant

> Properties and benefits of vanilla

> Calories and nutritional values ​​of vanilla

> Use in the kitchen

> Curiosities about vanilla



Description of the plant

La vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is aorchid native to Mexico which gives edible fruit: the pods.
The vanilla pods can reach 30 cm in length and, once picked, they are fermented and dried.
There are several vanilla plants, among them the precious one Bourbon vanilla, of the island of Réunion and Madagascar, and the Tahitian vanilla, with very dark and fleshy pods and a fruity and sweet aroma.


Properties and benefits of vanilla

Vanilla is a natural antiseptic but also a precious one soothing, it is in fact very useful for fighting stress and defeating insomnia. A good hot milk flavored with vanilla is in fact an excellent remedy for those who have difficulty falling asleep.

The particular aroma of vanilla is given by the presence of XNUMX teaspoon vanilla extract, a polyphenol with antioxidant properties which helps to keep the body young by counteracting the action of free radicals.

They have always been attributed to vanilla aphrodisiac virtues. The followers of the signature theory assimilate the shape of the vanilla bulbs to the testicles and associate this plant with the property of stimulating sexual arousal.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, doctors recommended taking vanilla to combat frigidity and among the symptoms of "vanillismo"(Set of disorders caused by the manipulation or ingestion of vanilla) in addition to dermatitis and discomfort, an irrepressible sexual drive was also included.


Calories and nutritional values ​​of vanilla

100 g of vanilla contains 288 kcal, e:

  • 0,06 g protein
  • G carbohydrates 12,65
  • Sugars 12,65 g
  • 0,06 g fat
  • Dietary fiber 0 g
  • Sodium 9 mg


The recipe for vegan chocolate and vanilla cake


Use in the kitchen

Vanilla has a very sweet and aromatic, fresh and exotic flavor, more intense in the Bourbon variety and rather delicate in the Tahitian.

The use of vanilla in the kitchen dates back to the mists of time, when the Aztecs combined it with cocoa to obtain a sweet drink, ancestor of our vanilla flavored chocolate.
According to a legend, the Aztec emperor Montezuma offered Hernando Cortés some vanilla-scented chocolate that the Spanish conquer brought back to his homeland, making the whole Old Continent discover its flavor.

Vanilla is mainly used in confectionery preparations, to flavor sugar, chocolate, milk and liqueurs and vanilla cream is one of the main ingredients of many cakes and desserts.
Vanillin covers the yeast flavor and smells cakes and biscuits making them even more tempting.
In some cuisines, such as Oriental or African, vanilla is an aroma also used to prepare savory dishes.

I pods of vanilla contain within them sow that can be used by spreading them directly in the preparations, while the pod can be placed in a jar of sugar which will be characterized by the scent of vanilla, excellent for sweetening coffee.
In France and in Anglo-Saxon countries, Coca-Cola has marketed a vanilla-flavored drink: Coca-Cola Vanilla.


Curiosities about vanilla

La XNUMX teaspoon vanilla extract is the main one aromatic molecule present in vanilla (up to 4%) but it is a substance that man is able to synthetically produce, for this reason it is available on the market at more or less high costs, depending on whether it is natural vanillin or not. European legislation considers synthetic vanillin as a product identical to natural, but the wording to be declared for use is "aroma"And not" natural flavor ". The synthetically produced vanillin has a reduced bouquet of aromas compared to the natural one and is widely used in the food industry.

La vanilla production it is a very difficult and delicate process, in fact the fertilization of the orchids that produce the pods must be done manually since only one insect can play the role of mediation between flower and flower but it is an insect that is found only in Mexico.



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