Vanilla Extract: Commercial Variations

This look at the ingredients found in various commercial vanilla extracts (plus their prices) finally pushed me over the edge into brewing up that DIY vanilla extract.

We’ve been using McCormick vanilla forever, mostly because it has the simplest and shortest list of ingredients:

McCormick Vanilla

McCormick Vanilla

Nielson-Massey vanilla seemed about the same, although it’s not clear why it needs more sugar than those “vanilla bean extractives”:

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Wal-Mart vanilla doesn’t smell like vanilla, even though it has more “extractive” than corn syrup:

Wal-Mart Vanilla

Wal-Mart Vanilla

All three extracts have “Pure” on the label, which (according to Wikipedia, anyway) means that they have at least 13.35 ounce of vanilla bean per gallon of extract. I didn’t weigh the three beans in my 8 ounces of hooch, but I suspect they weighed far less than the regulation 0.834 ounce. Next time, for sure, I’ll go for triple strength extract!

Despite that, my DIY hooch has turned brown and smells pretty good…

These full-frame pix used my new close-up lens gizmo; even with some vignetting the results seem perfectly usable. Normally I crop pix down to the central section, so this will be as bad as it gets.

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  1. #1 by Jason Doege on 2011-11-24 - 13:52

    RE: your preceding post about DIY extract: I don’t know if it would make any difference to you, nor if it can be shipped to NY, but Everclear comes in 190 proof and is available online from several retailers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everclear_(alcohol) It’s probably wrong, but Wikipedia says you can buy it in NY.

    • #2 by Ed on 2011-11-24 - 20:43

      Everclear comes in 190 proof

      Wow, that’s potent!

      When I get around to DIY-ing more vanilla extract, I’ll see if the corner hoochery has higher-test ethanol. No point in mailordering another few percent, though; it’s probably ORM-D and the surcharge would eat up any possible advantage… [grin]