Many people associate vanilla purely based on its flavor in many foods and confectionery. Vanilla is derived from the orchids of a Mexican species of flat-leaved vanilla, and the word is the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina, which means “little pod”.
The orchids grow from a vine that climbs up an existing tree or other support. This is extracted from the fruit or pods that grow on these vines. Although highly valued for its flavor, it is the second-most expensive spice after saffron.
Beans, powder, extract, what is the difference?
Vanilla beans consist of a brown pod that is almost waxy and contains thousands of little brown flavourful seeds. The powder is the result of grinding down the bean in its entirety into a fine powder. People can easily use beans as is or make their powder from the beans.
Meanwhile, vanilla extract is made when beans are macerated in a mixture of ethanol and water. When purchasing extract, it is always essential to ensure that only pure extract is bought as there are many cheap variations of which the mixture may be too watery.
Beans, powder, and extract can be used for various and unique purposes, but taking a closer look, why would it be better to use instead of the extract?
More flavor when using powder
Seeing that powder consists purely of dried and ground beans, it gives a more concentrated flavor than that of extract, which has been mixed with water and ethanol.
The extract contains ethanol
According to the FDA, the extract must contain 35% ethanol. This does not bode well for those who want to avoid ethanol for various reasons. The powder is, therefore, the better ingredient to use in this case as it is purely beans and their seeds that have been ground up.
When cooking it at a high temperature for too long, the extract loses its potency because it evaporates.
In baking, use can make a large difference
Baking is all about chemistry. Every recipe calls for a specific amount of dry ingredients vs. liquids. Using powder instead of extract may very well be the difference between a masterpiece and a disaster.
Although there are numerous products on the market in fact, brown despite that most flavored products are white. Products that claim to be “vanilla-flavored” have synthetic flavoring resembling that of vanilla, but it’s not the “real thing”. Using powder will cancel out this problem as it does not discolor foods.
To ensure that foods and baked goods taste authentically, purely and deliciously “vanilla” there is no substituting, and with using powder, the full flavor can be attained.
The powder is a natural product
There are numerous synthetic flavors, and not all of them are healthy as they are accompanied by sugar, to try and enhance the flavor. The powder can be used in coffee, smoothies, and an array of recipes for food, dessert, and drinks.
This spice is a superfood, and this powder can be used safely in either a Paleo or a Keto lifestyle as it is derived from the vanilla husk and seed. Without any other added sugars, starches, or fillers, as is found with so many other products.
As a natural product, vanilla is exceptionally healthy, and it has a vast array of health benefits, such as:
- Being an antioxidant – which helps the body fight free radical activity;
- Promoting healthy skin as it is a natural antibacterial and helps reduce skin problems like acne and pimples, it can soothe burns and even help slow the signs of aging;
- Being a natural anti-inflammatory
- Helping to alleviate pain
- It contains properties that relieve stress
- Aiding in weight loss when used by a healthy diet
It’s a lot more convenient, with more uses than that of the extract
The powder can be used in a lot more ways than the extract, such as making vanilla sugar or salt along with being incorporated in dried mixes such as oatmeal packets, pancake, flapjack, and cake mixes along with protein shakes.
It won’t expire quickly and can be stored more easily for later use. Even with saving it, the powder will not lose its flavor. It can also be used as a garnish on food.
How do I get my hands on powder?
The powder can be made in the comfort of your own home. How? By purchasing a batch of beans, cutting them open and scraping the seeds out with the tip of a knife.
This may prove to be tedious work, and the more convenient option would be to visit websites like nativevanilla.com, which not only provides premium products but has detailed information including recipes to incorporate vanilla and tips for cooking.
The powder for the win!
When looking at the differences between powder and that of extract, its plain to see that powder is the more convenient, healthier option and has an array of uses. When living a busy lifestyle, people tend to go for what is more comfortable while trying to live sophisticated, balanced, and healthy lifestyles and caters to just that.