is native to Mexico and Central America where it
is grown commercially. Vanilla is the world's third
most expensive spice. Vanilla is the bean of a climbing
orchid. The beans contain thousands of seeds.
The flavoring comes from the seeds
inside the pod, or the bean of the vanilla plant.
The beans are very dark brown, slender, pleated
and between 7 and 8 inches long. Vanilla beans are
very fragrant when dried.