You might have noticed a tattoo that looks like insect bites on your vanilla beans and wondered “Eeew, what is that?? Is it safe to eat?!”
The short answer is: YES, absolutely, it is safe to eat.
The detailed one (for those who want to sound smart in a dinner conversation with your Valentine) is here.
Those are not insect bites but tattoos that are punched in by some growers. If you look closely, you’ll see letters, those are the initials of the grower. On the above photo, you might read “BOR” initials on the right bean.
Why do they initial their beans, you ask?
Well, the Madagascar Black Gold as they refer to vanilla has reached unprecedented high prices which is more valuable than silver that currently trades at around USD 504/kg. This attracts vandalism, thieves and murders in the SAVA (the north eastern region of Madagascar where most of the vanilla is grown). In order to prevent (or limit?) vanilla robbery, growers tattoo their then green beans (before harvesting) with their initials to mark where they are from.
This doesn’t affect the quality of the beans but remains visible after the curing process.
At Madanilla, we are committed to supplying you with the best vanilla from our growers in Madagascar directly.
If you’d like to bake something sexy for your Valentine, place your order here. We’ll deliver within 24 hours in Singapore so you can be ready on time.
Secret tip: Do not throw away your used vanilla beans after you scrape the seeds. Wash them, dry them out and blend them to make vanilla powder that you can reuse in your tea, coffee, bath salt, soaps or candle light… Just sayin’!