Jul 282020
What is Pure Vanilla Extract – Explained
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Welcome to my 'What Is Pure Vanilla Extract' post!

First of all, I must congratulate you for taking the time to do your research on this topic of green living. 

Vanilla may be one of your favorite flavors when it comes to pudding or ice cream. It gives a delicious taste and aroma to baked sweets. The scent of pure vanilla extract is almost intoxicating.

However, the extract offers way more than just a delicious taste. Vanilla extract offers a wide range of health benefits.  

As a qualified teacher, I am passionate about education and the impact it can have on bettering our future. It is down to us individuals to do our research and make small changes to the way we live our lives. 

These small changes are easy to make and can have a big impact on our health, the health of our family and our environment. This website is designed for everyday people looking to make these changes. Here you will learn a legitimate way to go green. 

Let me be completely transparent with you, I am not here to pitch or sell anything to you. I am here to reveal and to assist you on your journey of going green! 

What is 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.

Cakes-on-Display

Where does Vanilla Originate from?

Primarily, there are three vanilla species in the world. The origin of these species is in Central America – and in particular, Mexico. 

he 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.

How is Vanilla Extract Made?

Pure vanilla extract comes from the process of maceration of vanilla beans and then mixing them with alcohol and water. The main ingredient is vanilla beans and the extract is known for vanilla flavor.

Sometimes, it is a mixture of natural flavors with some alcohol content. The preparation and the final extracted product depends on different brands, locations, as well as the formulation of the ingredients.

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.

The Six Stages of Production:

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 hot weather 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 lays the beans out into the hot sun all day long. Then, the beans are brought inside at dusk or night time. 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 vanilla extract.

Pure Vs Fake

When I shop for this product, I always look at the ingredients on the label and recommend that you do the same.

If you think your vanilla extract is pure but it contains spirits and vanilla beans, then you have a sugar-infused, watered-down, and corn-syrup heavy vanilla.

Similarly, the extract is black, then it means you have a highly diluted vanilla extract with stabilizers and caramel colors. You need to know that pure vanilla extract is amber and not black.

How to Use 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. I personally use vanilla extract in my coffee from time to time. 

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.

Health Benefits of Vanilla Extract

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.

Several 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.

Nutrition Facts of Pure Vanilla Extract

The nutrition facts label is a required policy set out by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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.

 The following table will help you understand the nutritional facts of pure vanilla extract. Just be aware that this is from one particular manufacturer so nutrition fact may vary with different products. 

Nutrition-Facts-1
Nutrition-Facts-2
Nutrition-Facts-3

*The Daily Values in percent are based on a calorie diet of 2000. A person's daily values might be higher or lower depending on their calorie needs.

For further information, please click here.

What is Pure Vanilla Extract: The Final Verdict!

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 recommendation on the best place to buy vanilla extract online, please click here.


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Reader Comments

  1. I’m a huge fan of vanilla, especially pure vanilla extract as I like natural products. It’s really great in French toast, if you mix it in with the eggs.

    I had no idea that it could help with weight loss and even social anxiety disorders. I find the scent of vanilla calming so I can see how it helps with anxiety but I am curious as to what it does for weight loss.

    1. Hi Randy, I too enjoy natural products. I Will have to try your suggestion for using it in French toast, that does sound delicious. It can help with weight loss because it has qualities that suppress your appetite. It can also help your metabolism by lowering your cholesterol which too supports weight loss. I hope this piques your curiosity!

  2. Wow, I just learned a lot about pure vanilla extracts.

    I too love vanilla flavors pastries and ice creams but didn’t know that there are lot of processes just to extract the flavor and how much vanilla beans are needed. I may have missed it, but how many vanilla beans you need to extract, lets say, 100 ml of pure vanilla flavor?

    I really like how you presented this article and even included the health benefits, the processes of extracting the flavor, what to look for when buying vanilla flavor extracts, nutritional value, etc.

    1. Thank you Lemuel, I am pleased that you liked it and were able to learn from it.

      Here is guidance for making a quart so if you only wanted 100ml, just divide the ingredients by 10.

      Use a quarter pound of beans for every quart of extract that you want to make. Chop the beans into half-inch pieces, slicing is OK too, but it is a waste of time. Finally use 70 to 90 proof inexpensive name brand Vodka.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Hi Catherine, I really enjoyed your article I’ve only ever known vanilla as an ice cream, I never knew it could help with weight loss. To also see that it can help with anxiety is amazing. It was a great read and kept my attention to the very end. Thank you for sharing.
    Ronnie

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