Vanilla Facts For Kids

Do you like the taste of vanilla? It is one of the most popular ingredients in food, and you may have had a vanilla-flavored ice cream recently, especially if the weather has been warm and sunny!


Picture of an orchid (learn more below)

Fun Facts About Vanilla

  • Vanilla is an orchid (plant), and it is one of the few orchids that actually produces fruit.
  • There are over 150 varieties of vanilla plants – that’s a lot!
  • The vanilla flower blooms for around a day, and then must be pollinated. Otherwise, it dies.
  • Vanilla plants only grow in hot climates close to the equator.
  • Vanilla is made by extracting the pods (beans) from the vanilla plant.
  • While the beans are being harvested, they are placed into hot water and laid out in the sun where they shrink over the following days.
  • Vanilla was first used by in Mexico by the Olmeca people, who first used it for flavoring (maybe in ice cream? Maybe not!).
  • Vanilla is used more in the United States than anywhere else.
  • There are actually two types of vanilla beans; vanilla planifolia and vanilla tahitensis.
  • Guess what – vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States!
  • Vanilla is not just used in food – it is also used as a scent in perfumes and as a flavoring in medicine.
  • Vanilla actually means ‘little pod’ in Spanish. That is the origin of the name, which makes sense since they speak Spanish in Mexico, where vanilla was first used.

Video – Learn About Where Vanilla Comes From