Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From?
You must be watching a lot of videos about where does vanilla flavoring come from? Read this article by Alveloz to know the truth behind the vanilla flavoring.
The truth behind vanilla flavoring is that it comes from Vanilla planifolia which is a species of vanilla orchid. Yes, you see it right. Vanilla orchid is a flowering plant genus of about 110 species in the orchid family. One of the most popularly known member of the vanilla orchid family is Vanilla planifolia which is also known as flat-leaved vanilla, and West Indian vanilla. Vanilla planifolias are the primary source of vanilla flavoring that companies use in cosmetics, cakes, cookies, beverages and other food items. But there is one cheaper alternative some companies use, read further to learn more.
The flowers are greenish-yellow in color and have a diameter of 5 cm. They only last a day and must be manually pollinated in the morning if fruit is desired. Since the plants are self-fertile, pollination is as simple as moving pollen from the anther to the stigma.
Only mature plants, which are usually over 10 feet tall, bear fruit. The fruits are pods that are 15–23 cm long, often incorrectly called beans. They resemble tiny bananas on the outside. After about five months, they reach maturity, at which stage they are harvested and cured.
Beaver’s Castoreum: The Cheaper Alternative
Some people are claiming that it comes from beavers’ anal excretion or from the region between its pelvis and base of the tail. After it trended on Tiktok. And I am afraid but this is, in some words true, but don’t jump to conclusions because you love your ice-creams and cakes. The truth is some mostly companies use Vanilla orchids for the purpose but some uses a cheaper alternative and yes, that’s a beaver. These companies use castoreum, which is a liquid secretes from the region between their pelvis and base of the tail and they use it to mark the areas where they live in. But castoreum is FDA(Food and Drug Administration) approved. And companies to use it name it as natural flavoring. However, its use as a flavoring has decreased over time, and it is now only found in perfumes. It’s time-consuming to get it from beavers, particularly because the beaver’s must be ‘milked’ in most cases. Today, less than 314 pounds is made every year, which is distributed throughout the markets.
So by now you probably have eaten something which was made using this way of vanilla flavoring or may be not. Just so you know you can also grow vanilla orchids in your homes in case you don’t want to take any risk now. Vanilla bean plants prefer high humidity, warm temperatures, and bright, indirect sunlight. Vanilla can be fun to grow in your garden or greenhouse, but it takes a little more work than other house plants. Then you can use its flavor for its aroma and spice and use it while baking cake next time or also in cold coffees.
Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla Essence:
Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. On the other hand chemically generated flavors such as, ethanol, propylene glycol, air, emulsifiers and colors are commonly used to make vanilla essence. Vanilla extract is typically less processed and has a richer, more pure vanilla taste due to variations in processing.