The particularities of Madagascar vanilla extract

The particularities of Madagascar vanilla extract

Madagascar vanilla’s quality has captured the attention of the entire world. Malagasy vanilla is known for its relatively high vanillin content compared to other varieties. Bourbon vanilla is regarded as the best vanilla in the world, a distinction highly valued by enthusiasts compared to vanillas from Indonesia, India, or China. In culinary and pastry circles, vanilla is an essential ingredient. While the vanilla pod is the primary marketable form of natural vanilla, vanilla is also available as vanilla powder or vanilla extract. Vanilla extract, which is easier to measure while preserving the complex aromatics of vanilla, is also used in recipes to achieve the cherished vanilla fragrance.

80% of the vanilla in the market comes from Madagascar.

Madagascar vanilla supplies end consumers, professionals, and large players in the agri-food industry. Madagascar is the epicenter of the global vanilla market, providing nearly 80% of the world’s prepared vanilla supply. The export volume of prepared vanillas is approximately 1500 tons annually. However, this volume is not stable due to challenges faced by producers. According to customs statistics, Malagasy production was 1,580 tons in 2019, compared to 1,568 tons in 2016, 2,702 tons in 2015, and 2,234 tons in 2014. It’s worth noting that global demand remains high, at around 2,500 tons. In addition to the situation in Madagascar, the price of vanilla varies depending on the growth of global demand and production. For pastry chefs, ice cream makers, and spice enthusiasts alike, vanilla extract represents a less expensive and easier-to-use option for imparting a natural vanilla taste to their preparations.

An important component in both food and cosmetics.

Madagascar vanilla is widely used in gastronomy, the agri-food industry, and cosmetics. All these professionals seek quality products, and Malagasy vanilla apparently meets their criteria. In Madagascar, conditions are ideal for vanilla cultivation, especially in the northeastern part of the island, which is the global center of vanilla production. Events in this region influence the global vanilla market. Madagascar vanilla is already renowned for its quality, particularly the intensity of its aroma. In recent years, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla has been labeled organic, indicating it’s grown through organic farming methods, benefiting from the soil fertility and humidity that enable plant development without the use of fertilizers or other chemicals.

Another selling point for Madagascar vanilla.

The organic label is another selling point for Malagasy vanilla, in addition to its unmistakable quality. With this organic label, Malagasy producers enhance their reputation in the market, especially as many importers are willing to pay more for it. Some vanilla industry professionals already market certified organic vanilla, which is processed differently from conventional vanilla. Vanilla pods that don’t meet quality standards are then transformed into vanilla powder or vanilla extract. These vanilla-derived products retain the same aromatic qualities and are primarily used in food.

Pure vanilla extract.

Madagascar vanilla extract is a natural and pure product obtained from vanilla pods, including sorting outliers such as “Gourmet black vanilla,” “TK black vanilla,” “red vanilla,” or cut vanilla. Madagascar vanilla extract meets FDA criteria. To be classified as “pure vanilla extract,” extracts must contain 200–400 grams of vanilla pods per liter of water and 35% alcohol. The FDA also limits permitted ingredients for vanilla extract production to natural products, including vanilla pods, water, alcohol, and sugar. Madagascar vanilla extract is classified as “pure” for using entirely natural ingredients and adhering to FDA guidelines on production.

Vanilla Extract: with or without sugar.

Vanilla extract is obtained through two filtration methods: cold extraction and hot extraction. Cold extraction is the most common filtration technique for making vanilla extract, although it is time-consuming. Hot extraction addresses this lengthy production time by using water heated to 40°C. Above this temperature, vanilla tends to lose its aroma due to alcohol evaporation. To prevent this aroma loss, vanilla extract producers use sugar as an aroma fixative while speeding up the extraction process. Sugar is one of the FDA-permitted ingredients in pure vanilla extracts. Malagasy producers mainly use 100% natural cane sugar. The sugar content in vanilla extracts represents less than 5% of the final product.

Using pure vanilla extract.

The amount of vanilla extract used depends on the recipe. However, as a general rule, one tablespoon of vanilla extract is equivalent to one whole vanilla pod or one tablespoon of vanilla powder. The aroma intensity of vanilla extract depends on the vanilla concentration, typically ranging from 200 to 400 grams per liter. More concentrated vanilla extract is widely used for industrial baking or recipes that are highly sensitive to the addition of a lot of water.

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