Vanilla planifolia, is indigenous to Mexico, where it is pollinated by tiny humming birds and a bee called Melipona. Vanilla is actually in the orchid family and is the only orchid to produce an edible fruit. Hand pollination has allowed the vanilla plant to be grown in other places in the world such as Madagascar and Tahiti.
These high quality beans, or pods, of the plant are excellent in recipes and in teas. Mix a whole bean with sugar for a delightful vanilla sugar that tastes heavenly and can be used to sweeten and flavor coffee, tea and many dessert recipes. Vanilla beans are also used to make Mexican liqueur and the extract made from the bean is most often used in baking recipes. Use the bean in sauces and syrups or mixed with coffee grounds. Vanilla can also be found in many cosmetic recipes (perfumes, lotions, massage oils, candles and more) due to its heady aroma and reputation as an aphrodisiac.
Store beans in a tightly-closed container in the refrigerator.
Place 6 tsp. of cut vanilla beans in a one quart glass jar. Cover with pure grain alcohol and seal the jar. Allow to sit in a dark place for at least 2 months before using.
2 tsp. cut vanilla beans
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups pure grain alcohol
Hot, Fresh brewed French Roast coffee (approximately 3 cups)
Place cut vanilla beans in a 1 quart glass jar. Add the sugar and alcohol, then add the hot, freshly brewed coffee to top off the jar. Cool and then seal the bottle. Place in a dark place for 3-4 months, shaking daily.
Orchid Isle Cologne
Recipe from Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox
½ vanilla bean (or ½ tsp. cut vanilla beans)
1 Tbsp. Dried Rose Petals
1 tsp. Orange Peel
¼ cup vodka
1/8 tsp. glycerine or castor oil or orrisroot powder
Mix together all ingredients in a glass or ceramic container and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Place in a cool, dark place and let sit for 1 week before using.
The best way to apply scents is by spraying them onto the skin, but you can also use your fingers to dab them on - especially at the pulse points (behind the ears, wrists, knees and inside the elbows).