A magical spice with unique taste and odour, used in sweet products and different desserts
Vanilla is a magical spice with unique taste and odour; impossible to describe in simple terms.
When used in sweet products and other different desserts and cooking; vanilla accentuates all
other ingredients in the dish with magic touch and the feeling of a delicious scent penetrates
Vanilla pod is the dried and processed bean from the climbing orchid; vanilla planifora. The
vanilla pod we are offering here is Bourbon pod which refers to the way the finger is produced.
At about three years, the vanilla plant is mature enough to start flowering and make beans. The
flowers grow up in clustered – bunches with single flower per bunch which comes out a day.
Each flower is pollinated by hand and after nine months, there is green vanilla ready for
harvesting. The harvesting activity is done during the ripening of vanilla pods which offers a bit
of challenge as pods do not get ripe at same time.
When all this is done, the farmer shelves the harvested ripe vanilla pods for 5-7 days; then put
in a mess tin (62-65 degrees Celsius) in exact 2minutes and 40 Seconds. They are then placed in
sweat boxes (48-52 degrees Celsius) in 2 days and nights. Afterwards the pods are dried every
day on a blanket for 8-10 weeks in 10 minutes under sunshine depending on the day’s
temperature conditions. Each vanilla finger is taken care of during the drying process and they
are sorted in different lengths and gets clear message to spread the vanilla grains. They are
placed on the blanket; one by one to get right shape. When ready, they are bunched and stored
in boxes and packed for export. The organic vanilla is cultivated in different places in Uganda
mainly along the slopes of Mount Elgon in Elgon Region – Eastern Uganda.
Vanilla pod can be stored for long time, if they are placed in cool, dark container without air.
Not too cold, which can make the pod hard and it crystallizes more than necessary.
Sisimuka Organic Farmers Association has over 300 vanilla farmer members from Bugisu and
Sebei Sub – Regions along the slopes of Mt Elgon with annual production tonnage of 5 tons.