Curing Vanilla Beans In Uganda

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Green Vanilla Beans For Curing

Green Vanilla Beans For Curing

When you hear “cure the vanilla beans” we simply mean the process of making the vanilla beans get the aroma. Green vanilla beans are almost odorless and aroma develops in the pods or beans through the labor-intensive process called curing.

This process of aroma development is carried out through drying vanilla beans and allowing the chemical and enzymatic reactions.

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Curing is very important because if beans are not cured, they will slowly shrivel up on the plant and will not have any favor or aroma. A properly cured pod contains vanillin and more than 100 other compounds which give vanilla its unique flavor and aroma. There is a chemical process that occurs during curing that releases vanillin.

There are several curing methods that are utilized in different places and ultimately you must decide how you want to process your beans based on what materials you have. You will want to sort out split beans when you see them and process separately, as these and smaller beans often are ready more quickly than the larger beans.

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Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling the beans and to keep the beans on clean surfaces – otherwise you may have problems with mold, fungus, or pathogens down the line.

The basic phases of curing are: killing, sweating & stunning, drying, and conditioning. Information on these processes will be presented in the booklet in chronological order.

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There are various curing methods and we will discuss two of them. The most commonly known is the Bourbon method (mainly used in Uganda as well); the Mexican method is probably the second-most popular. The most obvious difference between the two methods is that in Mexican curing, beans are killed by sunlight rather than by boiling water. In Uganda, vanilla beans are immersed in boiling water and there after sometime put out in sunlight in the noon for curing.

This means that beans cured by the Mexican method often have lower moisture content than those cured with the Bourbon method.

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