Vanilla is one flavour that almost all of us are fond of. Growing up loving the flavour in cakes, cookies, ice creams and sometimes even perfumes, we never really try to think where it originally comes from. It is the most popular and widely used flavour in the world, yet, it’s only cultivated in a few regions and countries.

Where does vanilla come from?

There are vanilla beans that grow green on the vine. The beans are then harvested when the tips begin to turn yellow in colour. The curing process is what gives the beans their flavour, aroma and characteristic brown colour. Once the beans are properly cured, they are stored on racks and in conditioning boxes to further develop and mellow the flavour. The entire curing process takes 3 to 6 months, making it a very labour-intensive endeavour.

Where does vanilla come from
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How is a vanilla extract made?

Vanilla extract is made by macerating or percolating chopped vanilla beans with water and ethyl alcohol in large steel containers. The process is usually kept as cool as possible to minimize flavour loss, though some vanilla extract manufacturers believe that there must be heat for the best extraction that takes up to 48 hours.

Where does Vanilla Extract come from
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What do we use vanilla for?

Vanilla is used in foods and beverages and is a well-known flavouring. It’s used as a flavour enhancer for baking, in dairy products and even in a few traditional recipes. It is also used as a flavouring in syrups for medications. It is an exotic, complex flavour that is liked throughout the world even as a fragrance in perfumes.

What do we use vanilla for
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Adulteration and no-plated method of vanilla enhancing

A synthetic compound utilized in vanilla enhancing and aromas comes from the anal glands of beavers. Castoreum is a substance that is produced by the castor sac of the animal, which is found between the beaver’s pelvis and the base of the tail. 

Where does Vanilla Extract come from
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What is Castoreum?

Beavers utilize this substance to mark their territory. The fragrant, brown slime is about the consistency of molasses, though not quite as thick. It’s a yellowish-brown, unctuous substance with a strong musky fragrance similar to natural vanilla. The properties of castoreum of the animal have made it a popular additive in perfumes and to enhance vanilla flavors in foods like ice cream and yogurt.

Where does Vanilla Extract come from
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How is Vanilla gained from the castoreum of beavers?

However, getting a beaver to deliver castoreum for reasons for food preparation is extreme. Foodies set on obtaining a portion of the tacky stuff need to anaesthetize the creature and afterwards “milk” its lower areas.

Because of such repulsiveness for the two players, castoreum utilization is somewhat little—just around 292 pounds (132 kilograms) yearly. That measurement incorporates castoreum, castoreum separate, and castoreum fluid.

Vanilla from beavers
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Is it still being used today?

But don’t yet toss all your vanilla flavored items be it ice creams and yoghurt from the freezer or the essence from the cabinet into the dustin. Castoreum is rarely used to flavor food anymore, and even if it were, the FDA has said that it doesn’t have any risk to your health. You can’t be sure that the artificial vanilla extract you bought at the grocery store contains castoreum. The secretion is an animal product and could be mentioned as the “natural flavoring”. That’s the trick that the companies who produces flovor use to hide the origins.

Vanilla from beavers
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For what reason do we utilize vanilla seasoning in cakes and icing?

At the point when you’re making prepared treats of any sort, regardless of whether it be cakes, treats, brownies, you constantly will undoubtedly see vanilla as the fixing. 

Gourmet expert John Demetrios, cake culinary specialist of a two Michelin star café in Stockholm called Oaxen Krog disclosed:

“I like to consider vanilla a flavour that improves pleasantness – how salt draws out the best in exquisite fixings. Vanilla adds Armona in prepared treats just as custards and creams. I additionally think it praises the kinds of eggs and sugar amazingly. Numerous chocolate makers add vanilla to their completed items, simply to give a more adjusted feel on the range.”

Where does Vanilla Extract come from
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Also read: 13 Disgusting Things Present In Your Favorite Food But You Didn’t Know