Yes, it's true. Vanilla is a beautiful flower.
Ok, I lied. It's not actually a flower, but it is the only edible fruit in the orchid family.
Vanilla beans are truly a labor of love.
It can take up to three years after the vines are planted for the orchid flowers to appear. The fruits, which resemble large oversized green beans, must stay on the vine for nine months in order to acquire their famous flavor and fragrance. Then, the beans must dry in the sun for several weeks before they are ready. Truly amazing!
Recently, I made this fabulous vanilla pudding recipe. It's heavenly. I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste.