There is so much confusion in the world about vanilla extract: origins, types, ingredients and strengths. We can’t answer all those questions here, but we can make a couple of recommendations. Number one: avoid artificial vanilla extract at all costs. It is made with all kinds of gross stuff and contains no actual vanilla. Number two: avoid vanilla products that contains sugar, glycerine or anything other than alcohol, water, and vanilla beans. Alcohol is necessary to draw and hold the flavour from the beans (water alone won’t do it), but all other ingredients are included to thicken the extract (or turn it into a paste) or to enhance the flavour and make it palatable right out of the jar. Vanilla extract is not supposed to taste good out of the jar. It needs to be added sparingly to recipes that allow the flavour to blossom and contribute to the whole. Number three: beware of adulterated “tourist” extracts from Mexico. Mexico has a great reputation for vanilla, but not everything from there is trustworthy these days.
Moving on. Our vanilla extract is made from Madagascar Bourbon beans – the best in the world for extract. It contains only alcohol, water, and vanilla. This is the only vanilla-based liquid you’ll need in your kitchen.