Cooking up Winning Recipes with Florida-Grown Vanilla

Vanilla is a very delicious orchid, and it’s one of the most expensive flavorings in the world. The majority of vanilla beans are grown in Madagascar, and the USA imports a lot of them. Scientists are working to establish a vanilla industry in South Florida’s hot, humid climate. A plant geneticist at the University of Florida has tested hundreds of cultivars. He’s also teamed up with a Miami chocolatier to cook with vanilla from the university’s greenhouses, and it was a great success. The variety they used has many desirable traits, including high vanillin levels. They’re hoping to prove that it can become a sustainable Florida crop. If they’re successful, home-grown vanilla may find a place in America’s kitchens.

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