Vanilla seeds are extracted from the inside of the pods, usually with the point of a knife. Called by some « vanilla caviar », it’s actually the tiny little black seeds you can see in most vanilla ice creams or cakes.
Vanilla beans (pods) are the dried unripe fruits of the orchid Vanilla planifolia. Native to tropical America, it can grow in most tropical areas near the equator. Every flower is pollinated by hand and pollination must occur within a few hours of the flower's opening. Each blossom produces a single bean that is normally harvested after eight or nine months and then passes through a complex curing process before resembling the black-brown fragrant spice we all know.
Lush used to buy vanilla beans from the Fair Trade Ndali farm in Uganda but a very serious shortage of vanilla on the market generally and in Uganda in particular changed the plans. This is why Lush currently buys beans from Madagascar and India.