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Vanilla Vs. Vanilla Bean: Main Differences Explained

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Vanilla Beans and Vanilla Flavorings

Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices in the world – 2nd behind Saffron being #1. The conversation on vanilla is often about the price, why is vanilla so expensive

The vanilla price in 2022 has pushed bakeries, manufacturers, and consumers to use the replacement of natural vanilla beans. In order to get the desirable vanilla flavor, many have switched to vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and vanilla sugar to name a few.

We all have heard of ‘vanilla extract’ but many of us have not met natural vanilla beans. When looking to buy vanilla beans in bulk or at our retail stores in the spice aisle, is it vanilla or vanilla bean? If some vanilla products are liquid, others are in powder form, do they play a role in the flavor of your final dish? Absolutely. Your vanilla products will contribute to the final result when making ice cream, baking, and even manufacturing macaroons for distribution.

By the end of this article, you will know the key differences between vanilla and vanilla bean. You will be able to recognize the roles each vanilla product plays in our food and beverages.

los angeles-bakery flan vanilla beans

Comparing Natural Vanilla Beans and Vanilla Flavorings

Vanilla beans come from the only orchid family that grows edible fruit. There are 3 types of vanilla: Vanilla planifolia, vanilla tahitiensis, and vanilla pompona. Pastry chefs cut/split the pod open and scrape the vanilla caviar to be used or turned into other vanilla products, typically vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and vanilla sugar.

However, commercial vanilla extract, commercial vanilla bean paste, and bulk vanilla sugar that you find in retail stores have gone through several processing steps, including the addition of other external artificial ingredients, which most of the time are chemical compounds to amplify the flavor.

In other words, not all retail vanilla products provide you with 100% natural flavor from bulk vanilla beans.

Unlike homemade products, some of them try to mimic the flavor of vanilla. These products are using synthetic vanillin or artificial vanilla flavorings from lab-created vanillin or other refined petrochemicals. Important to realize, long-time consumption may bring undesirable health effects.

Introducing Natural Vanilla Beans

Vanilla bean is a versatile ingredient in whatever sweet delicacies you’re cooking up. 

In utilizing vanilla beans as natural flavorings, you need to split the vanilla bean and scrape out the vanilla caviar. That’s what you use for ice cream and creme brulee amongst other top favorite pastries!

Whole vanilla beans may be your new preference in the midst of vanilla choices. It might be considered a splurge (especially if you order in bulk for manufacturing purposes) but the taste can’t be matched by any other. It comes from 100% vanilla bean from vanilla orchids without any other admixture. Vanilla beans capture a natural vanilla flavor that surpasses chefs, ice cream makers, and consumer expectations.

Vanilla beans directly from the source are not hard to find. When you type ‘Vanilla beans near me’ in your search engine, you will find various types of natural vanilla flavorings. The choices can vary from Indonesian planifolia/tahitian vanilla beans to bulk Madagascar vanilla beans.

Recommended: Comparing The Best Indonesian and Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Fun Fact: What about french vanilla?

When you hear ‘french vanilla’ ice cream (or anything with french vanilla labeled) you might misinterpret the product’s ingredients. Think that the product comes from vanilla beans originating in France?

It might take everyone by surprise to know that it actually refers to a french style cooking method. Using an egg yolk base in making egg-custard base, the product’s overall result commonly reveals a yellowish hue. In ice cream products, this base contributes to a texture distinction between french vanilla ice cream and vanilla ice cream.

Request More Info or Get a Custom Quote on Bulk Vanilla and Spices Today

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About Vanilla Extract

When soaking the vanilla beans in alcohol, this liquid-texture substance will turn into vanilla extract. After a certain period (8-12 months), it possesses the rich taste of vanilla beans.

In food manufacturing, vanilla extract in bulk is crucial for production continuity. Vanilla extract in food manufacturing is commonly used as a flavor enhancer. The product choices may vary, but usually applicable for ice cream, sauces, vanilla glaze, hot brew, and many more recipes.

Recommended: Vanilla Bean Powder As a Substitution of Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Bean Paste

How to produce vanilla bean paste? The combination of vanilla extract, vanilla caviar, and thickener will turn to be the vanilla bean paste. It is known as one of the decent alternatives to vanilla beans for commercial use. 

When a recipe calls for a thick vanilla flavor, vanilla bean paste is a perfect match. It will add a desirable heavy vanilla flavor to replace the usage of vanilla beans in the dishes.

Its viscous consistency makes it look like glue but will blend very nicely. Vanilla bean is applicable for yogurt, ice cream, pudding, and other baking practices to instantly give out the vanilla flavor.

vanilla sugar is produced in bulk

Vanilla Sugar

Did you know the key ingredient to make vanilla sugar are the empty vanilla pods? After scrapping the caviar (vanilla seeds), these empty pods still contain a rich aroma and flavor.  

Thus, dipping it into white sugar and letting it rest for about 2-3 weeks will give you delicious vanilla sugar. The duration may vary depending on the ratio of sugar. Especially for bulk production of vanilla sugar in food manufacturing.

In the food industry production process, vanilla sugar contributes as an additional sweetener for beverages and baked goods – a sweet but not-so-healthy choice.

Pure Vanilla Bean Powder

Vanilla bean powder is an exceptionally durable and health-conscious byproduct of vanilla beans bulk. After the sun-dried process, the whole parts of vanilla beans are ground including its stem, caviar, and pods. That’s how pure vanilla bean powder turns to be a dark brown color fine powder!

Vanilla bean powder is a sustainable ingredient that does not contain additional ingredients and no artificial sweeteners. As a result, it has a rich vanilla flavor, sweet, and aromatic natural flavor.

Not limited to ice cream ingredients, vanilla bean powder is a prominent choice in baking as well. It’s used as a substitute due to its high-heat resistance (that the vanilla extract’s alcohol content can’t handle). Vanilla bean powder becomes a potent baking ingredient and natural sweetener for coffee, tea, and protein powder.

Vanilla bean powder has become a world-class product of Indonesia. Despite its lower price and higher quality, unnatural vanilla byproducts are still used as a replacement for whole vanilla beans and their natural byproduct. Especially for commercial supply chain and consumer goods manufacturing which involve economical and profit-related reasons.

Vanilla Beans for Commercial Use & Food Manufacturing

Vanilla bean is a well-known natural flavoring agent for health-conscious products. However, not all brands or shops produce natural products for their health-conscious customers.

Take vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream as an example. Surprisingly, these are not the same.

Although it possesses the vanilla flavor, vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream are different and its difference lies in their vanilla flavoring agents.

The authentic vanilla-flavored ice cream is vanilla bean ice cream (Yes, the one with small black specks!). It’s unmistakable that the specks (or vanilla caviar) come from actual vanilla beans or pure ground vanilla beans that give a full vanilla taste to your ice cream.

Where to Buy Vanilla beans in Bulk for Commercial Use

Vanilla beans are a key ingredient in every vanilla byproduct to produce the best commercial products. When choosing a vanilla supplier or picking vanilla from the store aisles, it’s wise to know your vanilla beans deeper. Where the pods come from and their harvesting process should be on your list.

Essence Food & Beverage LLC supplies one of the best planifolia and tahitian vanilla beans from Java Island, Indonesia at the most competitive price. You deserve the highest quality and freshness all the time. That’s why we have shortened the supply chain by cutting out the middlemen. Request a vanilla bean bulk estimate today, or order online and save on bulk orders. You can expect continuous product guarantees, 100% fresh planifolia/tahitian vanilla beans, and delivery on time, all the time.

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