An essential guide to Pure Vanilla Extract
Vanilla may be one of your favorite flavors when it comes to pudding or ice cream. However, the extract offers way more than just a delicious taste.
Vanilla extract offers a wide range of health benefits. It gives a delicious taste and aroma to baked sweets. The scent of pure vanilla extract is almost intoxicating.
What is pure vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract is produced through the process of percolation and maceration of vanilla pods in a solution of water and ethanol.
When it comes to bakery products, it is one of the most essential ingredients in many western desserts – for instance, baked goods like cookies, brownies, cakes, and cupcakes, as well as, puddings, ice creams, and custards.
Vanilla bean essential oils are used to make pure vanilla extract. When you submerse vanilla in aged alcohol, you get the pure vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract does not contain synthetic and artificial ingredients.
If you think your vanilla extract is pure but it contains spirits and vanilla beans, then you actually have a sugar-infused, watered-down, and corn-syrup heavy vanilla.
Similarly, the extract is black, then it means you have a highly0diluted vanilla extract with stabilizers and caramel colors. You need to know that pure vanilla extract is amber and not black.
Common uses of Pure Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is used in baked goods, custards, beverages, and some savory food like vanilla scrambled eggs and sauces. Not only is it used to flavor desserts but it also has some awesome applications like hot beverages such as coffee, milk, and tea.
In addition, it is also used in various drinks like low-fat banana shake Irish cream. Pure vanilla extract is also used in many skincare products like lip balms, lotions, body creams and butter to impart fragrances. The antibacterial properties of pure vanilla extract make it extremely beneficial for acne treatment.
Vanilla extract is also a rich source of antioxidants, which reverse and/or prevent skin damage caused by free radicals. It is used in many cosmetic products that are used to slow down signs of aging like age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its anti-aging and fragrance benefits.
A number of neurological research studies have shown that pure vanilla extract can have a positive effect on people who are suffering from mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Sipping milk or water containing vanilla extract can help reduce social anxiety disorder in some people.
Pure vanilla extract is also used for treating nausea, cough, digestive disorders, and menstrual problems. Moreover, it is also beneficial for promoting skin health, hair growth, weight loss, and dental health.
Where does it come from?
Primarily, there are three vanilla species in the world. The origin of these species is in Central America – and in particular, Mexico. The first one is known as Vanilla Planifolia, which is grown in Madagascar.
The second one is called “Vanilla Tahitensis,” which is primarily grown in South Pacific regions today, and the third one – known as vanilla Pomona, which is found in South and Central America.
Pure vanilla extract comes from the process of maceration of vanilla beans and then mixing them with alcohol and water. It is the most purchased form of vanilla, which is likewise cost-effective than vanilla beans.
Sometimes, it is a mixture of natural flavors with some alcohol content. The main ingredient is vanilla beans and the extract is actually known for vanilla flavor.
The preparation and the final extracted product depend on different brands, locations, as well as the formulation of the ingredients.
How is it grown and made?
The production process of vanilla extract involves six stages. All six stages or steps in the production process make up the extended fermentation process. The process requires moderate temperatures and moisture to be successful.
Here are the six stages of production:
1. Harvesting: first, vanilla beans are pulled from the flower. At this stage, the beans are odorless and green in color.
2. Killing: In this stage, the beans are soaked in hot water to remove or kill the outer skin. This prevents beans from growing further.
3. Sweating: During the day, the manufacturer exposes the pods to the hot conditions. The next step is to wrap them in blankets at night. The purpose is to sweat out its inherent aroma and flavor.
4. Drying: At this stage, the manufacturer layout the beans into the hot sun all day long. Then, the beans are brought inside at dusk or night. This stage focuses on drying of the beans and the goal is to reduce the moisture levels to at least 20%.
5. Grading: After drying the beans, they are graded. This depends on the quality, moisture content, and shape of the beans.
6. Extraction: This is the last phase in which dried beans are split, cut, and immersed into alcohol, which yields essential oils – giving the final product of pure vanilla extract.
Nutrition facts of Pure Vanilla Extract
The nutrition facts label is needed by the FDA – the Food and Drug Administration – on most packaged beverages and food. It provides detailed information about the nutrient content of the food or product – such as the amount of sugar, fat, sodium, fiber, etc. When it comes to pure vanilla extract nutritional facts, the following table will you understand them.
|Nutritional Facts (1 tablespoon or 4.2-gram serving size)|
|Amount per serving||Daily Value|
|Total Fat (0 gram)
Trans Fat (0 gram)
Saturated Fat (0 gram)
Monosaturated Fat (0 gram)
Polyunsaturated Fat (0 gram)
|Cholesterol (0 mg)||0%|
|Potassium (6.2 mg)||0%|
|Sodium (0.4 mg)||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates (0.5 gram)
Dietary Fiber (0 gram)
Sugars (0 gram)
|Proteins (0 gram)||0%|
When it comes to the source of nutrition, pure vanilla extract is 17% carbohydrates and 83% alcohol. The nutritional facts interpret the interaction of all these nutrients in the vanilla extract in relation to growth, maintenance, reproduction, disease, and health of the individual.
A Few Final Thoughts
In conclusion, pure vanilla extract is well known for its flavor in a variety of foods, particularly cakes. The process for making vanilla extract involves vanilla pods and essential oils.
Pure vanilla extract is a higher quality than regular vanilla extract which has been watered down and mixed with sugar. It grows in Central America and has a six-stage production cycle.
If you would like to read my personal recommendation on the best place to buy vanilla extract online, please click here.
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