This article will describe the four steps in detail for you, whether you're just curious about vanilla beans before you buy them or you simply want to understand how to cure vanilla beans.
What ways vanilla beans are been cured?
The curing of vanilla beans involves four important steps. They aren't incredibly lustrous and black when they first fall off the vine. They start out green in color, then as they mature, their tips start to turn yellow. At this point, they begin to separate a little from their mother plant's core.
In contrast to other berries and fruits, vanilla will halt ripening as soon as it is harvested. The beans won't mature into the real vanilla that we all know and love if they aren't allowed to develop organically. Changes in temperature and humidity cause particular enzymes within the vanilla bean to be activated, which causes the bean to ripen. These enzymes will now transform the starches and pectin into sugars. The fruit will become yellow as a result of the pod's cell walls softening and the chlorophyll beginning to degrade.
The creation of the flavors will be banned if this vanilla process is halted. All that will emerge is a fruit that is slightly sour and unpleasant.
The dipping procedure will be carried out by a Master Curer, who will make all of their calculations intuitively. The vanilla beans will be immersed in water for a period of 10 to 3 minutes no later than three days after being harvested. The water's temperature must be between 150- and 170-degrees Fahrenheit. Whether or not the pods split on the vine, the size of the beans, and the temperature of the water will all have a significant impact on the precise timing.
The act of immersing the bean will essentially "kill" it and stop any further growth. It starts the process of enzyme release, which begins the creation of vanillin, the bean's main flavoring agent. Glycovanillin is now transformed into vanillin.
The employees will quickly cover the beans in wool blankets after removing them from the water. After that, they are kept in a sealed, dark environment. Speed is crucial since quick actions will help keep the steam and heat in place.
More enzymes will be activated by the heat as well as the steam. This time, these enzymes will allow the conversion of cellulose and starches to vanillin, along with other intricate elements that give vanilla its incredibly delicate aroma.
All of the vanilla beans will be carefully covered for up to two weeks while they are in the sweating stage of curing. It is crucial that the beans are kept heated during this time. If there is any cooling, this can be what encourages the growth of mold. It does have evident problems because vanilla is cured during the rainy season. To get around this problem, the curers spread the rolls out in the sun, then when it starts to rain, they put them back in their container.
Once the moisture level of the vanilla beans improves, they are left out in the sun, exposed to the air all day, and then rolled up at night. The alteration of the flavor and the crucial prevention of mold growth on the vanilla beans both depend on this exposure to the sun during the day.
For a period of up to two months, the vanilla beans will be unrolled and rolled.
The vanilla beans are still relatively wet during this stage of curing. Drying vanilla bean step will begin as soon as the beans begin to produce an aroma and are at the proper moisture content. The drying process, which can take anywhere between 3 and 4 weeks, is essential to enabling international transportation. This is due to the fact that a wet bean will only begin to grow mold during shipping.
The vanilla beans will initially be spread out to dry in the open air. To get rid of any remaining moisture, they will be moved back and forth between the sun and the shade. They could grow overly dry if they are exposed to too much sunlight. If this happens, the vanillin will be destroyed, making it useless and unusable. The vanilla beans must be carefully watched and organized according to their moisture content to avoid this. A moisture level of between 25 and 30 percent is the ideal target.
Each bean will be manually massaged by the personnel to guarantee a uniform drying process.
The vanilla beans are simply overflowing with flavor and almost ready by stage four of the curing process. At this time, they are placed inside wax paper-lined, closed boxes. For at least a month, they are kept in these boxes to preserve and further enhance their perfume.
Vanilla beans are typically delivered during this stage, which is before the full condition processing of vanilla is finished. This is because their boxes are their only remaining means of storage.
The package can be opened after at least a month. The vanilla beans will be completely grown and will have a very thin natural oil coating that makes them seem black and lustrous. The cured vanilla beans can occasionally develop a fine layer of white vanillin crystals when all the conditions are perfect.
As you can see, the process of curing vanilla beans involves a lot of moving elements. The master curer and their staff will put in a lot of effort to find the proper temperature, get the timing right, and determine whether the beans are warm enough, dry enough, or too wet. The beans will be useless if something goes wrong, and the entire nine months' worth of work could be lost if the beans start to mold.
When everything comes together perfectly, the outcome is a batch of vanilla beans with an incredible aroma.