Old Fashioned Vanilla Vs Vanilla Bean – Which Is Better?
Vanilla is one of the most essential ingredients in baking, cooking, and desserts. It has a rich and creamy flavor and a sweet aroma that can take your dishes to another level. Vanilla comes in different forms, such as extract, beans, paste, and powder. For years, two of the most popular vanilla types were Old Fashioned Vanilla and Vanilla Bean. But what’s the difference between them, and which is better? In this article, we’ll explore both types in-depth and help you decide which is the perfect choice for your recipes.
Old Fashioned Vanilla
Old Fashioned Vanilla is an extract that’s been around for decades. It’s made from vanilla beans that have been soaked in alcohol or water, then filtered and bottled. The extract is used in baking, cooking, and making sweet treats such as ice cream and cakes. The flavor of Old Fashioned Vanilla is smooth, sweet, and has a slight alcohol taste because of its extraction process.
The extract is commonly found in grocery stores and is relatively cheap to buy. Its accessibility makes it a popular choice for beginner bakers or those on a budget. The extract is also a stable pantry item because it can last for years without going bad, unlike fresh ingredients such as vanilla beans.
However, the flavor of Old Fashioned Vanilla doesn’t compare to the complexity and richness of Vanilla Bean. Also, the extract’s potency can vary among different brands, and some artificial vanilla extracts can leave a harsh aftertaste in your dishes.
Vanilla Bean is a natural form of vanilla that comes from the pods of the vanilla orchid plant. The pods are hand-pollinated, then harvested and sun-dried until they turn dark and aromatic. They’re then ready to use in baking, cooking, and all kinds of sweet treats.
The flavor of Vanilla Bean is complex, nutty, and floral, with a sweet aroma that can enhance any dish. The beans can also add texture and speckles to your recipes, making them visually appealing. Using Vanilla Bean can also elevate the quality of your desserts and baked goods and make them stand out from the crowd.
However, the quality of the Vanilla Bean can significantly affect the end result of your dish. The price of Vanilla Bean can also be expensive, and it requires some skill and knowledge to use it effectively in your recipes.
So, Which Is Better – Old Fashioned Vanilla or Vanilla Bean?
Both Old Fashioned Vanilla and Vanilla Bean have their place in the kitchen, but which one is better depends on your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a cheaper option that’s easy to find and has a long-lasting shelf life, then Old Fashioned Vanilla is the perfect choice. However, if you want to take your dishes to a whole new level, experience a complex vanilla flavor, and don’t mind investing more money, then Vanilla Bean is the winner.
Tips for Using Vanilla in Your Recipes
Whether you choose Old Fashioned Vanilla or Vanilla Bean, there are some tips you can follow to make sure you get the best flavor out of your vanilla:
1. Use the Right Amount
Using too much or too little vanilla can ruin the flavor of your dish. Follow the recipe and measure your vanilla precisely.
2. Be Mindful of the Quality
Choosing high-quality Vanilla Bean or extract can significantly affect the taste of your dish. Invest in a reputable brand and use fresh vanilla.
3. Be Creative
Vanilla is a versatile ingredient that can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet. Don’t be afraid to experiment and use vanilla in non-traditional ways.
4. Store Correctly
Vanilla extract should be stored in a cool, dark place, while Vanilla Bean should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
In conclusion, Vanilla is an essential ingredient that can elevate the taste and aroma of your dishes. Choosing between Old Fashioned Vanilla and Vanilla Bean depends on your needs and preferences. Regardless of your choice, remember to use the right amount, choose high-quality vanilla, be creative, and store correctly. Happy baking and cooking!