Vanilla is the fruit of the planifolia (fragrans) orchid or the tahitensis orchid, growing to approximately 12 feet high with clusters of flowers and are the only two of 35,000 species of orchid that produces edible fruit. Vanilla is the anglicized version of the Spanish word "Vainilla" meaning "little sheath" and is the second most expensive spice after saffron.
2-inches of bean=1 teaspoon of extract
1 whole bean = 1 tablespoon extract or paste
1/2 teaspoon of ground vanilla bean = 1 teaspoon of extract = 1 teaspoon paste