Vanilla extract is not unfamiliar to you. You’ve probably used it in a number of dessert recipes, but you might not be aware of the many delectable uses for vanilla that don’t involve baking. The magic elixir, which is created by steeping vanilla beans in alcohol and water, has a rich, complex flavor that goes well with everything from smoothies and spiced cocktails to marinades for meat and other foods. Just be sure to use a good vanilla.
Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the country, and most people are sure to have a bottle of it at home. We all agree that it tastes great, but did you know that it isn’t just for baking? We’ve compiled several interesting and creative ways you can use vanilla extract so keep reading.
1. Cocktail mixology
Vanilla is a fantastic addition to cocktail mixology because it gives drinks a smooth, luscious flavor and aids in the blending of flavors. It goes well in rum cocktails and complements barrel-aged bourbon or whiskey beautifully (particularly those that contain elements of cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, or clove). Vanilla is frequently used in bitters and is also frequently infused into alcoholic beverages.
2. Tomato sauce (and other savory sauces)
Professional chefs frequently add vanilla extract to savory dishes to accentuate the savory foods’ rich, subtle flavors without overpowering the other ingredients. To reduce the acidity of the tomatoes and improve the sauce’s overall flavor, think about adding a small amount of pure vanilla extract toward the end of cooking.
3. Barbecue and grilling
Vanilla can be used in many different dishes, including savory sauces and glazes for grilling. Numerous types of meat can be used with it, and it also aids in retaining moisture. To highlight the natural sweetness of the meat and give the dish a special touch, add vanilla to pork, lamb, chicken, beef, or fish.
4. Craft coffee drinks
Try infusing home-brewed coffee with vanilla if you’re trying to cut back on the overly sweet vanilla syrup you love in your morning latte. Just stir in 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract to your empty coffee maker, then let the coffee brew. The entire pot will be vanilla-flavored, producing a smooth, delectable beverage without the added sugar found in coffee shop syrup.
Any smoothie with vanilla extract is delicious, but our favorites are shakes with Greek yogurt, bananas, almond butter, and cinnamon. And this might work if you don’t like the taste of green smoothies: The complex vanilla flavor will harmonize the different fruits and vegetables and enhance the overall flavor by adding a light sweetness without the use of sugar.
6. Neutralize the Smell of Paint
Although a newly painted house looks gorgeous, the smell is frequently unpleasant. Simply add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to the paint can when you open it to leave your home smelling delicious. Simple – Just remember to thoroughly mix before painting!
7. Naturally freshen up your house
Putting a drop of vanilla extract in each of your light bulbs is an additional tasty way to improve the aroma of your house. When you turn on the lights, the heat will cause the extract to evaporate, filling your house with the aroma of freshly baked cupcakes.
8. Deodorizing the Microwave
Using vanilla extract will enable you to easily and safely eliminate any odors from leftover food in your microwave. Pour a small amount into a microwave-safe bowl, then heat on high for one minute. In no time, your microwave will smell better.
9. Freshen Up the Fridge
The same is true of your refrigerator. With so much food being kept in one location, it makes sense that there might be an odd smell, but it’s also crucial to make sure it can be handled without using any harmful chemicals. Simply combine a small amount of vanilla extract with a cloth and clean the inside of your refrigerator to leave it smelling sweet. Alternatively, you can soak a cotton ball in the extract, place it on an old jar lid, and place it in the refrigerator’s corner to extend the duration of your sweet smell.
10. Keep Those Bugs Away
Although we may enjoy the scent of vanilla, insects do not. Simply mix a teaspoon of vanilla extract with a cup of water, pour into a spray bottle, spritz, and then rub into your skin to create a natural insect repellent. Please take note that a patch test should be performed 24 hours prior to use, as with all skin care products.
11. Squeaky Clean
Vanilla extract is excellent for erasing the stains left behind by obstinate stickers or tape due to its high alcohol content. Simply spritz your cloth with water, then wipe away. Did you know that vanilla and other flavor extracts make fantastic hair and beauty products in addition to all these wonderful uses? Find recipes to make your own products that you can enjoy, give as a tasty gift, or use as party favors.
Real vanilla extract vs artificial vanilla
First things first, real vanilla extract and synthetic vanilla do differ, most significantly in price. Comparatively speaking, the price of an artificial vanilla extract bottle is extremely low. Why? There are several causes. One relates to the method used to create pure vanilla extract. Climbing orchid plants produce vanilla beans. The majority of the vanilla we use today comes from a Mexican orchid plant.
The fruit of this plant are the vanilla beans, which are also referred to as pods. After three years, vanilla plants start to produce fruit, which is hand-pollinated. After being picked, vanilla beans are processed. For the flavor to emerge, they are first sweated and fermented. They are then dried and preserved. The entire procedure might take months. Vanillin, a naturally occurring substance that gives vanilla its distinctive aroma and flavor, develops over time in the beans.
A type of synthetic vanillin used in artificial vanilla is typically based on lignin, a naturally occurring substance present in wood. Real vanilla beans produce over 200 different aromatic compounds, which explains why it costs so much to buy it in a bottle. Real vanilla beans have a much richer aroma and flavor than synthetic vanilla extract. However, it doesn’t follow that you should completely disregard artificial vanilla. Even now, it is helpful around the house. Artificial vanilla works just fine for household uses like odor neutralization. To reap the rewards of real vanilla, reserve your real vanilla extract for cooking and food preparation.
One of the most well-known and useful flavors and scents is vanilla. Vanilla extract has a variety of domestic uses outside of baking, which is something we are all familiar with. Vanilla is great for many household uses, including enhancing savory dishes, neutralizing odors, and acting as a natural insect repellent, in addition to enhancing the flavor of baked goods.