The fruit is gathered when it has reached its final size and is a brownish-yellow color, nine months after fertilization. The harvest is planned according to a calendar established by the green vanilla control commission about every 15 days and by geographic sectors.
The Tahitensis variety has the advantage of not splitting at maturity. This type of fruit is referred to as indehiscent. The harvest may thus be delayed until an advanced stage of growth (full maturity). The fruit’s taste and aromatic characteristics will then be highly developed.
The fruit of Vanilla Fragrans, however, must be harvested as early as the seventh month. If full maturity is reached, the bean begins to turn brown and split. This type of bean is referred to as dehiscent.
This consists of promoting the formation of the flavour, and keeping the bean in ideal storage conditions. The preparation of the vanilla is staggered over a period of four to five months. This phase is crucial, which is why Alain ABEL and his Tahiti Vanille® Team are extremely careful to ensure that meticulous care, patience, know-how and passion go into the work our team does each day.
Curing process is broken down into six phases:
This consists of stacking the mature beans in a cool place until they are completely brown (five to ten days).
*Rinsing the beans :
This is characteristic of Tahitian preparation. The beans are rinsed in clear water.
The beans must be exposed to gentle morning sun for three to four hours per day, for about one month. During the rest of the day, the vanilla beans are stored in cloth and put into crates to promote transpiration. Little by little, the vanilla bean will lose weight and shrink. Throughout this phase, the vanilla must be worked by smoothing and flattening it between the thumb and the index finger.
When the vanilla has received sufficient sunlight, it is left to dry in a shaded and ventilated place for 40 days to lower its moisture content.
The vanilla is sorted by length and quality.
*Maturation or refining:
The final stage takes place in the cases where the vanilla is stored. Its taste and fragrance will be greatly enhanced and refined. This stage lasts from 60 to 90 days.