Organic Pure Vanilla Extract - 4 oz jar
Vanilla beans are one of the most expensive spices in the world. They are of the orchid family and are just one of the many edible plants in that family. They are grown primarily in Madagascar, Tahiti, and Mexico. Many of these beans are produced through hand pollination, which requires great care and attention.
Vanilla beans are extremely particular and the plants flower for exactly 24 hours before they close again. If pollination doesn't happen during that time, the flower closes and dies. If pollination does happen, then the flower will produce vanilla beans. Evolutionarily speaking, this does not leave much room for the vanilla bean to have survived. Somehow it has continued along, and with the help of a twelve-year-old slave boy who discovered he could pollinate the vanilla beans by hand, which was instrumental in expanding the regions where vanilla beans could grow, it has transformed into a spice that many people adore.
Pure vanilla extract is a concentrated liquid form of vanilla bean flavor. It is produced in a process involving real vanilla beans. The FDA requires that a vanilla extract must have at least 35% alcohol content but can have up to 40% alcohol content in some cases.
Vanilla flavoring is often produced from the byproducts of the wood pulp and paper industry, with a special guest appearance from derivatives of coal tar. This is a chemically based process that is simple and inexpensive, and often involves little human labor or alcohol.
Vanilla extract does contain at least 35% alcohol and is required by law to have that level of alcohol. This is the same proof as some rums or vodkas. It is not and inherently dangerous product, as it is used in small quantities and frequently in applications where the alcohol will be cooked away anyway. However, extracts should be kept away from children and should not be ingested directly because doing so can cause bodily harm. Use only as directed.
Organic Vanilla Extract is with water, alcohol, sugar, and macerated vanilla beans. The beans are cut up so that the alcohol and water can become fully saturated with the flavor of the vanilla beans.
The vanilla beans are left to rest in the water and alcohol for three to five days while the liquid is heated rapidly. This helps pull the flavor from the beans and infuse the surrounding liquid much more quickly. With other extracts, it takes many weeks, sometimes a full year for the extract to have a full flavor. Vanilla extract can be boiled and produced much more quickly.
The alcohol used in the production of our organic vanilla extract is sourced from 100% organic sugar cane. The alcohol is naturally gluten free, though it is not tested for gluten levels. This is an alcohol that can be safely consumed by those allergic to the nightshade family of plants, or those who may be allergic to vodka.
Vanilla extract is produced from vanilla beans, as mentioned before, and growing vanilla beans is an extremely labor-intensive process. The flowers are most frequently hand pollinated and then hand-picked, only to be packed and shipped, and then made into vanilla extract.
Since imitation vanilla, or vanilla flavor, is made from the byproducts of other industries, the supplies and labor intensity are not nearly as high, meaning the product can be much cheaper. The biggest difference between vanilla extract and vanilla flavor is the amount of alcohol that goes into the production of each. Vanilla extract absolutely must have that 35% alcohol content in order to be labeled "pure vanilla extract," but it also must contain 100g of vanilla beans per liter of extract. This is roughly 13.35 ounces for every gallon of the extract.
There are no such guidelines for vanilla flavor and often the flavor contains absolute no vanilla beans at all. The more expensive vanilla extract is well worth the price.
Organic alcohol, Organic select vanilla beans, and water
If you are a home baker you can use vanilla extract in cakes or cookies, and to make other things taste better or sweeter, depending on the context. Looking to make your homemade chocolates even more mouthwatering? Add a little vanilla extract to the melted chocolate to enhance its flavors naturally. If you are making a huge batch of hot chocolate, vanilla extract would enhance the chocolate in the same way. The Mayans made their famous chocolate drink with vanilla beans to help sweeten and mellow the flavors of the cocoa beans.
This is a question that can find its answer all the way back during the time of Prohibition in the United States of America. Just as alcohol was about to be banned in America, producers of extracts furiously wrote in to congress to remind them that if all alcohol was banned in the country, their industry and the food industry in general would suffer. This led to things like extracts and cough syrups to be classified as food and medicine products and were thus exempt from the alcohol ban. There was an adage around that time that said "you can't lose your cough, so you always need your cough syrup" meaning that the alcoholic could still get drunk from cough syrup.
A single vanilla bean gives as much flavor as a tablespoon of Organic Vanilla extract.
Store this extract in a cool dark place like a kitchen cupboard or tucked away in a pantry. Excessive heat or exposure to light will cause the vanilla to break down and lose its flavor and potency more quickly than it would were it shielded from the heat and the light. Never store your extracts above the stove, as the rising heat will affect the quality. Avoid refrigerating the extract.