Last Updated : May 29,2018
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Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin. Pure vanilla extract is made by extracting from vanilla beans in an alcoholic solution. In order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that the solution contain a minimum of 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean per gallon. Natural vanilla flavoring contains real vanilla bean but no actual alcohol. Imitation vanilla extract is usually made by soaking alcohol into wood, which contains vanillin. The vanilla extract can also be prepared at home. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected. Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka. Give t.he bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.
How to select
Quality and aroma of the vanillin flavor varies by growth location, since some areas produce beans with higher vanillin content. Good quality vanilla extract has a strong aromatic flavor. Look for 100% pure and natural high grade vanilla extract as beans with artificial color and flavoring are also present in the market. Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste. Check the best before date before buying vanilla extract.
" The vanilla extract finds culinary usage in baked goods, because almost every single one - with the possible exception of some savory items - can benefit from the boost of flavor, either in the batter/dough or sprinkled on top
" A major use of vanilla extract is in flavoring ice cream and preparation of dessert.
" Although vanilla extract is a prized flavoring agent on its own, it is also used to enhance the flavor of other substances, to which its own flavor is often complementary, such as chocolate, custard, caramel, coffee and others.
How to store
Store vanilla extract in an airtight dark coloured container and keep it away from direct sunlight.
" In old medicinal literature, vanilla is described as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for fevers.
" The vanilla may increase levels of catecholamines (including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline), and as such can also be considered mildly addictive.
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