Baking - General, Ingredient Insights

How gross is that?

Vanilla is in almost every baking recipe, and if it isn’t I often add it anyway. I’ve always been a bit of a penny pincher, and for a long time I would always get artificial vanilla extract simply because it was cheaper. Then after more experience with baking I would keep a small bottle of pure vanilla extract on hand, but only to use for special occasions, such as birthdays or dinner guests, but for everyday personal baking I’d stick with the cheap stuff. I recently got near the bottom of my bottle of the imitation flavour and discovered that it had a thick film caked on the bottom of the bottle. After seeing that, and a lot of little flakes floating around in the remaining liquid, I immediately dumped the rest of it down the sink and tried to clean out the bottle. I soaked it in hot water, shook it with soapy water and I could not get the crud off the bottom of that bottle. It was disgusting, and from that moment on I vowed to never use artificial vanilla again! The pure extract may be a lot more expensive, but at least it’s pure, and why should I just save that for special occasions? It has so much more flavour, and just makes everything more enjoyable. So if you’re ever debating which to chose, take my word for it, there is no debate. Go for the good stuff. Your tastebuds, and probably the rest of your body, will thank you!

6 thoughts on “How gross is that?”

  1. I’ve recently started using pure extract exclusively, and can’t get over the difference it makes!! I put a little bit in a dish of plain, fat free Greek yogurt, along with a bit of Stevia, for a super-delicous, smooth, rich, guilt-free snack!

  2. Syntheticvanilla is an artificial product made from guaiacol, a coal tar derivative through a chemical process. Caramel colors are used to mask the unpleasant aroma and therefore it appears black in color. Since it is a coal tar derivative, it is generally considered unhealthy for human consumption.
    Over 250 components contribute to the flavor profile of vanilla, yet only vanillin is imitated. Natural vanillin is present in vanilla beans at 2% by weight. A cheaper artificial form (USP vanillin) can be synthesized from guaiacol, a coal tar derivative; or produced from lignin, a byproduct of the paper industry.

    Read more:

    This really grossed me out! Pure vanilla for me!

    1. Thanks for this, I hadn’t really looked into the ingredients of artificial vanilla, just a reaction to what I found on the bottle; but it’s good to have confirmation that it is, in fact, as terrible as it seems!

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