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Flavoring Extracts

( Originally Published 1926 )

261 Q. From what is vanilla extract made?

A. Vanilla extract is made from the dried pods of the vanilla plant. These pods are known in commerce as vanilla beans. The vanilla plant is a climbing vine, growing in the tropics. The beans are picked before they are fully ripe, at which time they resemble somewhat long, thin, green bananas. When cured, the beans are about one-fourth inch thick and from 6 to 9 inches long; they have a dark brown color and are highly aromatic. The cured beans are chopped very fine, then put in jars or casks with diluted alcohol and allowed to stand until the alcohol has absorbed the vanillin flavor from the beans. The extract is then drawn off, sugar added to it, and it is then either bottled immediately or put away to be aged. Aging greatly improves the extract.

262 Q. Since nothing but vanilla beans and diluted alcohol goes into the making of vanilla ex-tract, what is the chief difference between the various grades of vanilla extract on the market?

A. The difference lies in the grade of vanilla beans used and in the length of time allowed for aging the extract. The vanilla beans grown in Mexico are of the highest grade. Next in quality is the Bourbon bean, grown in the Bourbon Islands. The lowest grade vanilla bean—and the cheapest, of course—is that grown in the Tahiti Islands. Just as cider made from wind-falls and rejected fruit is just as "pure" as that made from sound, ripe Russets, so it is with vanilla extract. A vanilla extract may be "pure" and yet poor.

Extracts improve with age. Manufacturers of the highest grade vanilla extract age their product for a considerable period, often a year or two, before percolating it and filling it into bottles. Such extracts are of a superior quality and naturally command higher prices.

263 Q. From what is artificial vanilla extract made, and how does it differ from genuine vanilla extract?

A. Genuine vanilla extract and the artificial extract, called Vanillin and Coumarin, are chemically identical. For that reason it has been quite difficult to distinguish between the two. In the case of the genuine article, how-ever, there appears in the extract a certain percentage of the natural resin and gums that were in the vanilla beans. These do not show in the Vanillin and Coumarin.

Vanillin is made from the oil of cloves. It is perfectly safe to use and legal to sell under its proper name, while Coumarin is a chemical that is manufactured in laboratories to use in mixing with Vanillin so as to add to its flavor. It, too, like Vanillin, is perfectly safe to use.

264 Q. How is lemon extract obtained?

A. Lemon extract is made by dissolving lemon oil, which is obtained from the skin of the lemon, in alcohol. To conform to the government standard, lemon extract must contain at least five per cent of lemon oil.

265 Q. How can a person know whether a flavoring extract is pure or imitation.?

A. Read the label carefully. If the extract is an imitation flavor, the fact will be so stated on it. Laws are very strict the label. The Pure Food regarding this matter.

Q. What are the various the market?

A. Almond Anise
Apple Celery
Seed Cassia

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