Pure Vanilla Extract. Prized for its rich, complex flavor and incredibly smooth aroma, pure vanilla extract should be a mainstay in a culinary enthusiast's kitchen. There is no substitute for quality and flavor. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans extracted using 35%+ alcohol - that's it! Don't be fooled by extracts that claim to be pure; imitation and clear vanilla utilizes artificial flavors and harmful chemicals. That big bottle of Mexican vanilla (that sort of smells like suntan lotion); the one you brought back home from your vacation abroad, is likely not even vanilla at all...
Homemade vanilla extract is prized for its full, rich, complex flavor and an incredibly smooth aroma. Homemade vanilla extract is truly in a different league than what can be procured from most grocery stores. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from vanilla beans, while imitation vanilla utilizes imitation flavors and chemicals.
All photos courtesy of MyBakingAddiction.com
Making vanilla extract is fun and simple! Simply take 5 whole vanilla beans, split lengthwise and add to 8 ounces of 35%+ alcohol. Any type of alcohol can be used, but bottom shelf vodka is most common because it will not add any additional flavors to the extract. Bourbon, rum and brandy can also be used. After 8 short weeks the extract is ready to enjoy.