Vanilla extract is present in many desserts, puddings and baking recipes like cakes, brownies and cupcakes. It is used mostly in baking because of it’s complicated and deep flavour. It is made by softening vanilla pods in pure alcohol and water. These three ingredients combined and filtered make vanilla extract.
Bourbon vanilla extract refers to a type of vanilla beans used. They come from the Bourbon Islands like Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion. The name comes from when Réunion was ruled by the Bourbon kings of France and has no relation to Bourbon whiskey.
Vanilla extract nutrition
There are about 288 calories per 100ml of vanilla extract. It contains no sugars, salts, fats, protein and only a small amount of carbohydrates. It does have some levels of potassium but because it is used in such small quantities you are unlikely to receive many benefits which are okay as its primary use is as a flavouring. Pure vanilla extract contains a minimum of 35% alcohol. It usually is organic and vegan-friendly!
Vanilla extract substitutes
Vanilla essence is an artificial alternative and is a clear liquid. Artificial vanilla extracts are made from synthetic vanilla flavours and not real vanilla pods. Maple syrup and almond extract are also good replacements and can be used in the same way!
Make it yourself
You will need some alcohol (vodka, bourbon, rum or brandy will do), vanilla pods and a clean bottle.
- Simply fill the bottle with the alcohol
- Slice down your vanilla pods so you can see the seeds
- Add the vanilla to the bottle and shake well
As you can see homemade vanilla extract is very easy to make. All you need is a little time, it takes about a month for the vanilla to infuse with the liquid.