Vanilla is an awesome flavor. But there’s more to the story than that.
Vanilla extract contains a whole bunch of antioxidants. Antioxidants, as the name might suggest, protect your cells from the dangers of oxidation. By protecting your body from free radical damage, these antioxidants can reduce your risk of disease. How cool is that?
Make vanilla a part of your meals, for your health!
Vanilla is amazing, not only as a bright and clear flavor sensation on its own, but also as a flavor enhancer for foods that feature other key ingredients, like chocolate and caramel. Adding vanilla to a whole bunch of different foods is a wonderful way to enjoy the taste of eating right! Vanilla is found in many forms. Look for it in grocery stores, specialty food stores, spice shops, or online.
Here is a guide to the most common varieties (ordered by flavor quality from best to least):
Vanilla Pods (a.k.a. Vanilla Beans): These are the actual pods from the vanilla orchid plant. They should be kept in a sealed container or bag, which will prevent them from drying out. To use them, split a pod in half with a knife, then use the knife’s tip to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to your ingredients and proceed with the recipe. Oh, and don’t discard the pods! If you put them in a sealed jar with some sugar, you can make vanilla-flavored sugar. Or, if you’re making custard, you can simmer the vanilla bean pods in the milk. Just strain them out before proceeding with the recipe.
Vanilla Bean Paste: You can find vanilla bean paste in specialty shop. This paste contains the vanilla seeds, capturing their aromatic flavors. It is more economical than using vanilla beans, and it has a long shelf life.
Vanilla Powder: Vanilla powder usually has a malto-dextrin or starch base, which then has vanilla flavor and essence added to it. This preparation does not include any added alcohol.
Vanilla Extract: This is usually what you find in the grocery store. It will have a nice vanilla flavor that is suspended in an alcohol and water base, but it won’t usually contain the vanilla bean seeds. It’s great in cookies or for the budget-minded chef.
Vanilla Bean Sugar: This is exactly what it sounds like – sugar flavored with vanilla beans. In high-quality mixes, you will be able to see parts of the vanilla bean pods and seeds.
Vanilla Syrup: Vanilla syrup is a flavoring agent that is packed with sugar, with a little vanilla thrown in as well. It’s especially popular in coffee drinks. Be careful when ordering drinks with syrup or when adding it to drinks because 2 tablespoons can contain 70 calories.
Vanilla as a Flavor Booster: Vanilla’s delicate and spicy flavor lends itself well to a whole bunch of tasty dishes.Vanilla adds a surprisingly delicious kick to salad dressings as well. So don’t be afraid to experiment. Whether you’re whipping up a comforting vanilla custard or adding pep to a spinach salad, vanilla is the spice for you!
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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.
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