Vanilla, someone makes us think of an ice cream, someone else of a cream or a perfume, but it is first of all a plant, which gives us an interesting multipurpose spice. One of the qualities to be mentioned is the Vanilla, it is the aphrodisiac action that it unleashes, useful not only in romantic moments but also when we feel stressed and cannot sleep.
It is not trivial to obtain this spice, on the contrary, a difficult and delicate process is required: the manual fertilization of orchids that produce the pods, since each of them is to be treated with the utmost attention so that it acts as a mediator between flower and flower. This insect is rare, and it is found only in Mexico.
I talked about orchid because the plant, said Vanilla planifolia, it is an orchid, one of those native to Mexico, which produces pods up to 30 cm long. Cultured and dried, they are the "raw material" from which we derive Vanilla as a spice.
There is not a single species but some are more frequent and used than others. And then there are the prized varieties from which we can obtain the most powerfully aphrodisiac essence and flavors, and more. Among these are the Bourbon, coming fromReunion Island and Madagascar, and Tahiti, typically produced from particularly dark and fleshy pods, it is recognized because more fruity and sweeter of his sisters.
It is a good sedative, the Vanilla, but it also has other properties that make it useful and loved by a large part of the population. If we want to use it to combat stress and insomnia, just prepare an infusion or a cup of milk flavored and sip it before going to bed, it is an excellent season to experience this anti-anxiety elixir, the winter one.
For the special aroma, we have to thank a polyphenol called vanillin, known for its antioxidant properties, this concretely means that it keeps us young by counteracting the action of free radicals.
Believe it or not, the Vanilla it was often used, and still is, like aphrodisiac substance. At the time this belief was born, to be verified by observing the shape of its bulbs and noting the similarity with the testicles. At this point it was a step, to build on this plant, the reputation of a powerful aphrodisiac.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, however, we understand that vanilla was also recommended by professional doctors, to those who showed signs of frigidity, to demonstrate, according to the followers of vanillin, this effect, the fact that those who consumed too much ended up show an irrepressible sexual drive, as well as symptoms of dermatitis.
Beyond the cupboards, a cream to Vanilla to be savored "by the spoon" it is a tangible source of pleasure, and it is not that difficult to prepare even at home. Just pour the fresh cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod engraved along its entire length, let it come to a boil and then remove the pod.
Meanwhile we can beat a couple of egg yolks with sugar, once clear and fluffy, add them to the starch and continue whipping. Add the cream, mix and then put the cream in a saucepan leaving it to cook over low heat. Once ready and cooled, mix with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth cream and then use it to stuff cakes or as a dessert, alone, to be enjoyed.
The first to taste and appreciate the Powdered vanilla were the Aztecs: they combined it with cocoa in a sweet drink much appreciated especially byAztec emperor Montezuma who offered it to friends and enemies, to turn them into former enemies.
Today the powder of Vanilla is mainly used in confectionery preparations, to flavor sugar, chocolate, milk and liqueurs and just tasted vanilla cream. Then there are recipes, especially in Eastern or African gastronomic traditions, which introduce this sweet and fresh flavor in salty and very tasty meat and fish dishes.
Wherever you mix it, you owe its flavor to aromatic molecule called vanillin that we are also able to produce synthetically, which is why we can, indeed, have to distinguish between natural or synthetic vanillin, by reading the label and paying attention to what is written. If "" flavor "or" natural flavor ", the first is certainly less valuable than the second but it is above all to make great use of it the food industry.
Vanilla: nutritional values
I don't know what sense does it make to indicate the calories for a pound of Vanilla, that I'm 288, since we often find it in small quantities, to give it the right flavor. It is good to know that the vanilla extract is made up of 52% water, from 0.06% fat, 0.06% protein, 15.5% sugar and 0.2% ash, the most present mineral salts are calcium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, there is no shortage of vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6).
Vanilla: ice cream
Among the most popular products, among those flavored with Vanilla, there is undoubtedly ice cream, often obtained with the powder or extract. The powder is obtained by drying the berry and then mixing the result with sugar, starch and other ingredients, the extract instead arrives in an alcoholic solution or possibly glycerol.
Those who love vanilla ice cream cannot fail to taste and love it too Catalan cream, vanilla yogurt and even vanilla coffee. Often the "vanilla flavor" is associated with light brown color deriving from the hue of the pod of the plant, this tanned shade remains even in foods that contain synthetic vanillin.
Both adults and children like the essence, and it is usually used as an oil both to calm babies and to soften massages. For the first purpose, a few drops in the essence diffuser are enough, while for massages the essential oil in drops is usually diluted in almond oil.
L'essential oil in addition to vanillin contains other similarly relaxing substances and adults who use it do so to stimulate blood circulation to the muscles in the lower abdomen. A bottle of Fragrant Vanilla Oil 10 ml on Amazon costs 7 euros, it can be used to create soaps and candles but also for a scented bathroom.
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