Vanilla extract is a fixture in many kitchen cupboards. Many people’s first experience with it might sound familiar to you – seeing the word “vanilla,” you may have taken a taste expecting a sweet, dessert-like flavor, but instead experienced a very intense concentrated vanilla tinged with alcohol. The extract, a staple in countless cooking recipes, is not meant to be tasted on its own. But as you explore how this vanilla classic is made and its many vital culinary uses, you’ll understand why no chef’s shelves are complete without it.
The process for creating extract is really quite simple. Starting with fresh, whole vanilla beans, flavor is coaxed out and preserved in a few easy steps.
➤ Maceration: Pure vanilla extract is made by a very simple maceration process. That means the whole beans are soaked, in order to soften them.
➤ Alcohol: Commonly, vanilla beans are soaked in a mixture of alcohol and water, in order to draw out and preserve an organic compound called vanillin. This magical compound contains the classic vanilla flavors you wish to bring to your dishes. 1 tablespoon of extract is roughly equal to the vanillin contained in a 2-inch bean pod.
➤ Other preparations: Is the alcohol absolutely necessary? No. When vanilla flavoring is drawn from the bean without alcohol, it’s no longer known as an extract, and is generally referred to as “natural vanilla flavoring,” a far less concentrated form. This includes boiling in water, scraping, and chopping the whole beans.
➤ When kids are in the kitchen: All extract does have some alcohol content. In most cases, at least 35% alcohol. That means that bottles of extract should be kept out of reach of children. The word “vanilla” has so many happy connotations for kids that they may get confused when they see the bottle. So, to make sure they don’t accidentally try to taste it, keep the bottle safely tucked away on a shelf.
Can’t stand the heat: Any time you are baking with heat, extract is more versatile than a whole fresh vanilla bean. The alcohol preparation preserves and protects the vanilla flavor from the heat longer, allowing for a wider variety of uses. However, if you add it directly to already hot liquids like piping hot beverages, you may lose some of the potency of the extract due to evaporation.
Make it smooth: Vanilla extract is often suggested for any pancake, waffle, or egg batter to help the batter achieve a desirable consistency, as well as to add potent flavor.
Make it fast: Extract delivers intense vanilla flavor quickly, without the more labor and time-intensive prep of whole beans.
Enhance other flavors: Vanilla is often used to complement and bring out other non-vanilla flavors. Think of it as the harmonic notes of a song which support the main melody.
Go savory: Vanilla isn’t just for sweet dishes. Branch out and explore what vanilla tones can bring to completely savory dishes, like meat sauces and soups.
Flavor-charge beverages: Adding a teaspoon of extract to your coffee or teapot before you start to brew and steep is a clever way to bring rich flavor to a simple cup of your favorite warm beverage.
Try 100% Pure Vanilla Extract From The Hawaiian Vanilla Company
Not all extracts are created equal. Many of the old fashioned brands you might typically see in a supermarket are made from artificial flavors and chemicals. These simulations can’t stand a chance when compared to vanilla bean extract made from fresh, naturally-grown vanilla beans. Where do you get uncompromisingly fresh vanilla? Go right to the source.
The Hawaiian Vanilla Company, the very first commercial vanilla grower in the U.S., has a well-earned reputation for cultivating vanilla beans of the highest purity and quality. From the family-operated farm on the Big Island of Hawaii, years of careful study, hard work, and love for vanilla have produced some of the finest beans in the world.
Now, you can enjoy the fruits of this labor when you try the Hawaiian Vanilla Company’s incredibly rich Vanilla Extract (More News). Suitable for all baking and cooking needs, this premium extract is made exclusively from 100% pure vanilla beans grown right in the lush landscapes of a Hawaiian paradise.
Want to experience a more hands-on approach to vanilla from start to finish? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pick up some of the Hawaiian Vanilla Co.’s Beans In A Bottle and make your own homemade extract from fresh, whole beans. Check the Hawaiian Vanilla Company’s site to view a free comprehensive video lesson on how to prepare your own high quality extract. Then, pop over to the Recipes section to find a broad variety of delicious and innovative vanilla-based recipes. Whether sweet or savory is your thing, you’ll find amazing, easy-to-understand recipes tested right in the Hawaiian Vanilla Company’s family kitchen. Take an exciting culinary adventure the next time you pull that bottle of vanilla extract from the shelf!