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How to Buy Vanilla Extract

Supermarket, gourmet stores, specialty stores and many other outlets carry vanilla extract. There are also many web sites selling vanilla extracts. Some of the brands are very familiar since they had been around since our grandmother or before. New vanilla extracts appears on the shelves almost weekly. Here are few important tips to help you chose the real vanilla extract. In the USA vanilla extract has a standard of identity as described by the FDA. There are only 2 spices of vanilla that allowed to use in food:

  • Vanilla planifolia ( growing in Madagascar, Mexico, India, Indonesia ,Uganda and other)

  • Vanilla tahitensis, (growing in Tahiti and Papua New Guinea , mainly)

A product can be called vanilla extract only if it contains a minimum of 1 fold extract. A fold has to contain 13.35OZ of properly cured vanilla beans, not more then 25% moisture, in 1 gallon of water and at least 35% alcohol. Vanilla extract in addition can contain sugar, corn syrup, glycerin and propylene glycol. This is a simple version.