Some people have a gluten sensitivity and can barely stand the presence of it in their diet. While to others, such as Celiac patients, eating anything with gluten can prove to be fatal. Does vanilla extract have gluten? Well, you’re in luck because today, we’ll talk about just that. Since vanilla is one of the most common and most popular flavorings, we will help you figure out whether to include it in your diet or not.
Is There Gluten In Pure Vanilla Extract?
If you’re looking for a gluten-free vanilla extract for your gluten free diet, the best way for you to get one is by looking for a pure vanilla extract as this is, in fact, free of gluten. Steer away from any product that doesn’t claim 100% purity. Also, always choose reputable brands that you’ve grown to trust.
How Is Vanilla Extracted?
There are several ways to extract essences for food consumption, cosmetic applications, or for making perfume. Here are the ones that are used for making gluten-free vanilla extract:
1. Extracting Using Distilled Alcohol
To extract pure vanilla, the essence of vanilla beans will have to be extracted using distilled alcohol. In the US, there are legal criteria that have to be met before any product is labeled as pure vanilla extract. Use of distilled alcohol as extraction medium is one of them, since these are also gluten-free.
The process of distillation prevents any protein to form or to get into the final product. Other ingredients that may also be used without affecting the gluten-free state of the extract are water, glycerin, invert sugar, glucose, propylene glycol, and sugar. These ingredients may be added as flavor enhancers and to expedite the extraction process.
2. Extracting Using Plain Water
Another way of extracting pure gluten is with the use of plain water. However, this is a tedious process which makes it not viable for commercial production. You can use this method in making gluten extracts at home. But if you want to get faster results, usee distilled alcohol or even pure vodka!
Why Are Vanilla Extracts So Expensive?
Vanilla beans are one of the hardest products to grow. They require a lot of time and attention before they’re processed. First, you should know that vanilla is an orchid that grows best in tropical climates. The flowers of each vanilla orchid are hand-pollinated, and once its seed pod is fully developed, it will also have to be handpicked, not machine harvested like many other crops. Once harvested, it will need several months to cure.
Why Make Your Own Vanilla Extract?
Why would you want to make your own vanilla extract when you can easily get them anywhere? One great thing about making your own vanilla extract is knowing what exactly goes into your food. Though pure vanilla extract is gluten-free, some manufacturers use additives that aren’t gluten-free.
As you well know, food products labeled as gluten-free are relatively more expensive than the regular ones. Besides, vanilla extracts are very easy to make. Why not take the time to try it out for yourself, right?
What You’ll Need:
3 pieces of vanilla beans
1 cup vodka (highest proof you can get your hands on)
Mason jar with a tight lid
With a kitchen scissor or a knife, cut each vanilla bean lengthwise and crack it apart but without entirely separating them. Make sure to leave at least an each inch at the end to keep it connected.
Place the vanilla beans into the mason jar and pour the vodka in. Make sure that the vodka covers the beans completely. A tall mason jar rather than a wide one will work better for this. Close the lid tightly.
Be sure to store the jar in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months, but remember to take it out at least once a week to give it a good shake, then store it back. You may also want to wrap the jar in a black cloth, so light doesn’t penetrate whenever you’re taking it out for a good shake.
Why We Use Vanilla Extract In Baking
Eliminating vanilla extract from your diet is a lot harder than you think. It’s one of the essential flavors used in baking and is still widely used these days, so trying to find products that don’t contain this ingredient can be very frustrating, though not necessarily unproductive. As a flavor enhancer, vanilla extract helps to highlight the other flavors in pastries and other desserts. Food labels will indicate whether the vanilla extract used is pure or not.
We hope you have learned some good things from this article. Don’t forget to share if you’ve enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!