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Vanilla Extract, Imitation Vanilla, and Vanilla Flavoring

Which vanilla does your recipe call for?


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Vanilla Forms

© 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla beans are expensive, retailing in some specialty shops for $2-3 each. The price of pure vanilla extract is also obviously high, but varies due to the quality of the beans used.

Pure vanilla extract should have no sugar added and will last forever, aging like fine liquor. Beware of cheap "pure" vanilla extract. If the bargain seems to be too good to be true, it is probably an adulterated extract.

In order to meet FDA standards, pure vanilla extract must contain 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon during extraction and 35 percent alcohol.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation vanilla is made from artificial flavorings, most of which come from wood byproducts and often contain chemicals.

Discerning palates find the imitation vanilla products to have a harsh quality with a bitter aftertaste. Twice as much imitation vanilla flavoring is required to match the strength of pure vanilla extract.

Vanilla Flavoring

Vanilla flavoring is usually a combination of imitation vanilla and pure vanilla extract.

More About Vanilla and Vanilla Recipes

Vanilla Selection and Storage
Vanilla Beans
Pure Vanilla Extract, Imitation Vanilla, and Vanilla Flavoring Differences
Homemade Vanilla Extract and Cooking Tips
Beware Adulterated Mexican Vanilla
Vanilla History
Vanilla Recipes
Vanilla Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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