Pure Vanilla Extracts

Written by Stephanie Dula
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Pure vanilla extracts have long been used in cooking and baking to lend a rich, complex note to desserts and other foods. There are many varieties and qualities of vanilla extract, though most of us have come to accept imitation vanilla extract as the real thing. Actually, much care and skill goes into the manufacturing and aging of premium pure vanilla extracts.

The FDA requires vanilla extracts to be a minimum of 35% alcohol, but there are no regulations on vanilla bean quality. Extracts may contain additives or stabilizers, depending on the manufacturer. While there are over 100 varieties of vanilla, only two are used in commercial extracts--bourbon vanilla and Tahitian vanilla, bourbon being the most common.

Natural and Pure Vanilla Extracts

Luckily for those of us who would like to find out what we've been missing, there are some good online sources for quality vanilla extracts. Companies have been distributing handcrafted extracts for generations, many of them made the old-fashioned way with exacting standards and the best quality vanilla. Since natural and simple is most often the way to go when it comes to food products, look for extracts made with no colors or preservatives.

Think how much better your cookies and pastries will taste with one of these premium pure vanilla extracts. If you enjoy baking with vanilla, it pays to check out the selection of extracts available online. Information is available as to vanilla harvest regions and aging and filtering practices for those discerning chefs who prefer the purest flavors and best quality.

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