Difference between Vanilla Extract & Vanilla Essen

rai5, Nov 26, 7:02pm
Hubbie saw a yummy dessert recipe here so decided to make it and take to daughter's on Sunday. While he was making he asked me what is the difference between vanilla extract & vanilla essence. As I only have vanilla essence I assume its the artifical stuff, while extract is probably the real stuff.

But we would both like to know.

cookessentials, Nov 26, 7:25pm
Yes, you are correct, vanilla extract is basically extracted from the real vanilla pod whereas,vanilla essence is a manufactured essence of various colours and flavours ( chemically produced) to give you a similar taste. Vanilla extract is very concentrated and you only need a little. Although you will pay significantly more for it, IMO, it makes a vast difference to the food that you are putting it in. You can also use vanilla paste which imparts a delicious flavour too.

kuaka, Nov 26, 7:26pm
I'm not 100% sure, but I think extract is actually extracted from vanilla pods, but essence is a concoction manufactured to taste like vanilla.Essence is more expensive, so this would appear to prove that line of thought.Others may be more clued up with this and may correct me.

cookessentials, Nov 26, 7:30pm
Here is a link to Nielsen Massey who produce some of the worlds finest vanilla. There is a mine of information there and it tell you the difference between the different types of vanilla. I use the Nielsen Massey myself and I find it far superior too anything else I have used.

rai5, Nov 26, 9:46pm
Many thanks for all the replies. Most appreciated.

sumstyle, Nov 26, 10:34pm
Slightly OTT, I am giving vanilla pods to my niece for Christmas as she is a single mum and this kind of product is beyond her budget, but she's a keen cook so I thought it was a novel pressie.

cookessentials, Nov 26, 11:08pm
I think that's a brilliant idea sumstyle.

sumstyle, Nov 26, 11:20pm
Hope she doesn't read the message boards eh?!

paghan, Nov 26, 11:23pm
Same thats a great idea.
I noticed in the supermarket they are around $20-25 for one pod, i was in the local bin inn one day and they had them there, nice big juicey looking ones for $3 so I brought a few, I put one in a jar with sugar, and have used it in baking and it is lovely.

lindylambchops1, Nov 27, 8:18am
I make my own vanilla essence/extract.Cut several vanilla pods in half then put them in a jam jar & cover with vodka.Store in a dark place & shake occasionally.Strain into a suitable bottle & use as required.

alebix, Nov 27, 8:39am
I was going to suggest you make some essence/extract and give it to her in a fancy bottle..

Easy to make.. as lindy said above ^^^^^. Except I add 1-2 t sugar.

willyow, Nov 30, 7:43pm
You don't need to pay those reidiculous prices - you can get top quality pods here on Trademeat a fraction the price ( from importers likeme and a couple of other sellers).

trah, Nov 30, 9:51pm
Kuaka, it is the extract that is more expensive, not the essence.I think you probably meant to say that.Like cooks said, with the extract you only use a quarter as much, so works out at a reasonable cost in the end.I'd never go back to the essence now - tastes artifiicial.

malcovy, Nov 30, 9:55pm
I have bought of Willyow and I will buy again.Cheap as chips.

cookessentials, Nov 30, 10:15pm
Yes, the essence is a chemically manufactured substitute basically. I have never used essence, always extract. I prefer the Madagascan vanilla as it is the finest quality. Madagascar supplies 60% of the worlds vanilla which is interesting. The Madagascan vanilla paste is beautiful too, I used it last Christmas in a "Mangomisu" from the Delicious magazine. Basically a mango tiramisu with fresh Australian mangoes, it was really lovely.

lindylambchops1, Sep 20, 7:56am
Alebix Do you add sugar just for sweetness or to cause a 'chemical' reaction?Thanks!