Vanilla Vine

$19.75 ($19.75-$27.00 choose a size)

The fermented pod of this climbing orchid is harvested from the Vanilla Vine or orchid, an aromatic sweet scents used to flavour cakes, and perfumes. Must be hand pollinated. The only insect capable of pollinating the blossom is the Melipona, a bee (see video) , native only to Mexico so all plants must be hand pollinated within 12 hours of the flower opening. The pods take nine month to develop.
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The brightly coloured orange-red fruits split when fully ripe to reveal three large shiny black seeds, each is partly surrounded but the soft, creamy arils. Akee pods should be allowed to fully ripen on the tree before picking. Prior to cooking the arils are washed and then boiled for 5 minutes, the water is discarded. The dried seeds, fruit, bark and leaves of the tree are all used in traditional medicine. Akee is a tropical evergreen tree with leathery leaves that grows to around 10m. Native to Africa it was taken to the West Indies before 1778 where it has become an integral part of the local cuisine. Akee is now the national fruit of Jamaica. Caution is advised with using akee as it is poisonous when unripe or overripe.
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