Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From – The Real & Rare Flavor

where does vanilla flavoring come from

Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From – The Real & Rare Flavor

Historically, vanilla was one of the most expensive and rare flavors. Vanilla comes from jungles on the other side of the globe and inspired countless dishes and variations. Vanilla essence can be bought in every supermarket, health food store, and pharmacy in the world.

What Is the Source of Vanilla Flavoring?

It’s possible that “vanilla flavoring” found in packaged baked goods is the result of castoreum, a goo anally excreted by beavers. Really?

National Geographic explains that beaver butts release castoreum to mark their territory, and this additive has been “generally regarded as safe” for use in food and perfume by the FDA for decades. Cavastoreum has a musky vanilla scent and a dark brown color similar to molasses.

That said, vanilla flavoring from beaver butts is very seldom used nowadays since it is difficult and expensive to collect, according to Snopes. Wow. As a result, if you see vanilla flavoring listed in an ingredient list, then chances are, it is either synthetic vanilla flavoring or natural vanilla flavoring derived from vanilla beans.

where does vanilla flavoring come from 2021

where does vanilla flavoring come from 2021

What Is the Origin of Vanilla Extract?

It is believed that vanilla itself originates from a tropical orchid that grows on a vine. It is thought that these orchids originate from Mexico but they have been cultivated all over the world in various equatorial regions. Vanilla is grown and harvested from various locations throughout Central America, Africa, and the South Pacific today. Although, according to the Economist, more than 80 percent of the world’s vanilla is grown on the island of Madagascar. It is because of this that the crop is particularly vulnerable to destructive factors such as the weather or diseases.

How Difficult Is It to Grow Vanilla?

Vanilla is a temperamental crop, to put it mildly. A vanilla farm has thousands of trees, with each tree reserved for one single vanilla vine, and it takes the vine up to three years to reach maturity and flower. As per Fine Gardening, vanilla farms have thousands of trees. In the event that the vanilla orchid does flower, it will only bloom for a single day and must therefore be pollinated manually on that day in order to continue growing vanilla.

Vanilla does not only have the problem of being difficult to care for, but it also has a number of health issues. There is a considerable investment of time as well with Vanilla. A single flower pollinated by a single bee produces a single pod that measures 6 to 8 inches in length. If that wasn’t enough, this pod takes eight to nine months to ripen to the point that it is ready to be harvested.

What Is Vanilla Extract Made Of?

The vanilla beans are then blanched, cured, wrapped in wool blankets, and placed in dark, airtight containers, where they will “sweat.” This is a form of fermentation which keeps the beans warm and moist. Every day for a period of two months, the blankets are rolled out and placed in the sun, before being removed from the wrapping and allowed to air dry for another three to four months. An additional month of “conditioning” involves wrapping the dried beans in wax paper and selling them in a closed container. All of this is according to The Spruce Eats website.

It is a long and demanding process that continues when the beans are ground and soaked in a solution of alcohol and water, in which the flavor compounds become soluble. While heat may sometimes be used in the extraction process, many people consider this a needless and destructive step that destroys many of the additional flavor compounds normally found in pure vanilla.

As a result, some manufacturers use a cold-extraction process that works like cold-brewing coffee. It takes longer, of course, but at that point, what’s a few more months added to an already-length process?

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