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Old 02 September 2018, 11:33 PM
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Chef Vanilla extract

I just had to listen to a lecture about how I need to stop buying artificial vanilla extract and buy the real thing. Apparently my friend, Julia Child in her own mind anyway, thinks there is nothing more heinous than using the artificial stuff.

Cost is definitely an issue for me I will freely admit, but cost aside does anyone out there use pure vanilla extract over the artificial kind and does it really make that much of a difference?
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Old 03 September 2018, 01:31 AM
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I use the real stuff. I don't use a lot of it, so the extra cost doesn't amount to much.

I would guess that whether you can taste the difference might depend on what you're putting it in; but I haven't done any actual taste tests, so I don't know for sure.

In general, I think people shouldn't lecture other people on what they feel like eating.
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Old 03 September 2018, 01:35 AM
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I have both. In most recipes, where the vanilla, plays a small part, I use artificial. In those recipes where it is an important component, I use the real stuff.

Where it is important is when one is buying vanilla in Mexico, because the fake stuff can cause liver damage, but it is usually sold as real rather than artificial.
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Old 03 September 2018, 07:43 PM
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Hang on, I thought vanilla extract was the real thing! I'm under the impression that vanilla extract is a solution of real vanilla and alcohol, whereas vanilla essence is made with artificial flavouring (which I believe is squeezed out of the bums of aquatic mammals, but I may be simplifying things here).

Or do you mean that you're expected to use actual vanilla pods? Because I say nah to that! I don't want to be faffing about with scraping little black specks out of a spindly bean when all I want is a bit of custard!
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Old 03 September 2018, 08:04 PM
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Blatherskite, ironically, the experts say custard is exactly one of the things that can benefit from faffing with a real bean.

https://www.epicurious.com/expert-ad...ookies-article

Cookies and other things baked to high internal temperatures, not so much.

I have pure bourbon vanilla, and have sometimes used real beans. (To each their own, but I did not think it was difficult to scrape a bean. I'm sure it took less than a minute.) I probably won't buy the fake stuff because it takes me long enough just to get through the bottle of pure stuff -- I don't need two bottles. But it's good to know it makes no difference for baked goods. I'll keep it in mind if I ever have to bake a lot of something.

ETA: Not likely you've had beaver-bum secretions. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/castoreum/

Last edited by erwins; 03 September 2018 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 04 September 2018, 12:35 AM
St. Alia St. Alia is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
Hang on, I thought vanilla extract was the real thing! I'm under the impression that vanilla extract is a solution of real vanilla and alcohol, whereas vanilla essence is made with artificial flavouring (which I believe is squeezed out of the bums of aquatic mammals, but I may be simplifying things here).

Or do you mean that you're expected to use actual vanilla pods? Because I say nah to that! I don't want to be faffing about with scraping little black specks out of a spindly bean when all I want is a bit of custard!
Just to clarify-
*Americans don't use the term vanilla essence. We use the term vanilla extract in general and differentiate between pure and artificial.

Pure is made of vanilla pods, ethanol, and water, and artificial of made of a non-vanilla pod substance- which apparently nowadays is a by-product of the wood pulp industry. I had to google.

Here is an image of "imitation vanilla flavor" which apparently is what it's called on the label.

*And Canadians apparently. Sue is a Canadian. But I hate speaking for Canadians, since I'm only a southern Canadian, being a Minnesotan. That's only honorary, and can be revoked at any time should I overstep my bounds. Not something I want to do in this political climate.
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  #7  
Old 04 September 2018, 02:08 AM
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Royalty

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44006176


Quote:
Why is vanilla price soaring?

The vast majority of vanilla - over 75% - is grown on the tropical island of Madagascar, off the South East coast of the African Continent.
"The main reason for the high price is that there was a cyclone in Madagascar last March which damaged a lot of the plantations," said Julian Gale, a commodities analyst for IEG Vu.
"And despite hopes that the price would have eased by now, it's still holding on the high side because demand is so strong."
The BBC's Tim Healy in Madagascar says that in addition to this, market watchers conclude that commodity speculation by a few large buyers is forcing prices upwards.
Equally, the use of the vanilla market to launder money from illegal sales of Madagascar rosewood has provoked price spikes and made the product rather eco-unfriendly.
It's a difficult spice to cultivate, extracted from the delicate vanilla orchid flower. As a result, vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron.
"The other big producers are Papua New Guinea, India and Uganda," said Mr Gale.
"It's exported globally, a lot goes to America as it has a big ice cream industry."
It's not just ice cream: vanilla is popular across sweet foods, alcohol, as well as cosmetics and perfumes.
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Old 04 September 2018, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Blatherskite, ironically, the experts say custard is exactly one of the things that can benefit from faffing with a real bean.
Flavour wise, maybe, but if I wanted faff I probably wouldn't be making custard!

Maybe if it was fancy custard, like the filling of a vanilla slice.

Quote:
ETA: Not likely you've had beaver-bum secretions. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/castoreum/
Good to know, since I'm vegetarian and I suspect the prospects are pretty bad for the beavers whose unfortunately fragrant glands are - er - harvested. I don't imagine they're just squeezed over a bucket and then released to spray their own special vanilla essence over their own territory once more.
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  #9  
Old 04 September 2018, 03:56 AM
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According to a mental floss article I just read, the current practice is to anesthetize and squeeze, not kill and remove the whole gland (which used to be the practice when beavers we're killed for their pelts anyway). It's not really worth it, so artificial vanilla generally comes from other sources now. Squeezing beaver butts is extremely rare.

ETA: I mean by humans. I don't know what beavers get up to among themselves.
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  #10  
Old 04 September 2018, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I have both. In most recipes, where the vanilla, plays a small part, I use artificial. In those recipes where it is an important component, I use the real stuff.
That's what I used to do. Ice cream, custard, etc real stuff. Cookies fake stuff.

But now I just make my own.
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  #11  
Old 04 September 2018, 03:09 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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Glasses

While, unfortunately, I do not remember exactly what my sister said, in terms of flavor in things like cookies, there is no difference between vanillin (artificial vanilla) and true vanilla. Vanilla and Vanillin: What's the Difference?

So I'd go with what Beachlife! does: where it's the major flavor and you're really going to be able to tell, use the real thing. Otherwise, save the money and use the fake stuff.

Seaboe
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  #12  
Old 04 September 2018, 04:15 PM
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Icon102

I'm amused by the following at the bottom of this article:

Quote:
Note: You might also enjoy Cochineal Red Dye from Bugs
Well, I like some red foods, but enjoy red dye from bugs might be stretching it.
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  #13  
Old 04 September 2018, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Blatherskite, ironically, the experts say custard is exactly one of the things that can benefit from faffing with a real bean.

[/url]
Shouldn't this be in the NFBSK folder?
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  #14  
Old 06 September 2018, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
Squeezing beaver butts is extremely rare.

ETA: I mean by humans. I don't know what beavers get up to among themselves.
As long as it's between consenting adult (beavers)
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  #15  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
As long as it's between consenting adult (beavers)
As far as beavers are concerned, gland squeezing is pretty vanilla.

You don't want to know what they get up to in order to produce caramel flavouring.
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  #16  
Old 06 September 2018, 09:49 PM
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Hell no. I still have nightmares from watching them make sprinkles (jimmies).

* shudder *
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  #17  
Old 07 September 2018, 01:58 PM
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Ponder



If you sample music from "Ice, Ice Baby" to produce your own song, could you sell the song as Vanilla extract?

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  #18  
Old 07 September 2018, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
While, unfortunately, I do not remember exactly what my sister said, in terms of flavor in things like cookies, there is no difference between vanillin (artificial vanilla) and true vanilla. Vanilla and Vanillin: What's the Difference?

Seaboe
I think that article is mostly right, but slightly off the mark, or at least, leaves a bit out. Vanillin is the primary compound in vanilla extract from vanilla beans. It's just that true vanilla extract also has some additional compounds that make the flavor more complex. It happens that those additional compounds tend to get destroyed by heat, so if it's a baked good, all that is likely to be left is vanillin.

Synthetic vanilla is made by synthesizing vanillin. It's the same substance as is in true vanilla. So it's true that if a bottle says it is vanillin, that is not going to be vanilla extract from vanilla beans, and it will lack the other flavor compounds. But vanillin is not, as a substance, artificial vanilla. It is the same substance as is present in real vanilla.

I guess it matters to me because I was a little surprised to learn that it is not something that is a facsimile -- like artificial flavors often are. It is the same actual chemical compound. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanillin
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