By Tom Havran
Liquid flavors and extracts are essential ingredients for successful cooking and baking. For example, the whipped cream topping on your pie or the icing on your sugar cookies wouldn’t go over so well if all you had to flavor them with were great chunks of diced vanilla beans. But how does all of that intense vanilla essence get into the vanilla extract that you do use in your whipped cream?
Extracts have greater flavor than the sum of the plants that are used to make them and flavors are a slightly different ingredient altogether. To use them properly, learn where they come from and how they’re made in our Baking Flavors and Extracts 101. Once you’ve grasped the basics, keep these important tips in mind.
9 tips for using extracts and flavors:
- Use concentrated alcohol- or glycerin-based extracts (not water or vegetable oil-based flavors) in all recipes that call for an extract specifically.
- Use glycerin, water or vegetable oil-based flavors (not alcohol or glycerin-based extracts) in recipes that call for flavors/flavoring specifically.
- Examine the ingredients listed on the flavoring label, and let that help guide you as to how best to use it.
- Use water-based flavors to flavor beverages like teas, cocktails and juices.
- Glycerin-based flavors have a slightly sweet taste and work well to flavor sweet recipes. The glycerin is water soluble but not fat soluble, so is best added to the wet ingredients (excluding the fat-based wet ingredients such as vegetable oil or butter).
- Vegetable oil-based flavorings should be used to flavor fat-based ingredients. For example, use sunflower oil-based lemon flavor to flavor a lemon buttercream frosting.
- Generally speaking, alcohol-based extracts can last indefinitely. Glycerin-based flavors are also fairly stable, while vegetable oil and water-based extracts should be used by the label date.
- If you’re concerned about GMOs, use certified organic extracts — they must be made using grain alcohol distilled from certified organic corn. (All certified organic products are GMO-free.) Frontier Co-op also carries a Non-GMO Project Verified Vanilla Extract.
- If you’re concerned about alcohol, use glycerin-based extracts and flavors.
Try Frontier and Simply Organic baking flavors and extracts in the following recipes:
What baking flavor or extract is a staple in your holiday baking?
About the author: Tom is communicator of natural living for Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia brands. In other words, he’s a very imaginative copywriter. A local boy, raised on a farm just down the road from the company’s headquarters in Norway, Tom enjoys drawing, plant hoarding, cooking and living the simple life in the beautiful state of Iowa.