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Penzeys Vanilla Extract

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
A while back I contacted Penzeys and asked about the ingredients in their vanilla extract. The reply stated that Penzeys' extract contained

Vanilla beans
Corn based grain alcohol

I was of the impression that Penzeys offered a high quality product, and now I'm not sure that they do. In another discussion, some months earlier, one of the forum experts (KYHeirloomer) said "... you only want an extract made with vanilla beans and alcohol." Having read that in several places, unless shown otherwise, I'll subscribe to that principle. Based on that, it doesn't seem to me that Penzeys is a particularly high quality product, although it may be good, or even excellent, compared to other vanilla extracts.

Apart from making my own, which I'm not inclined to do at this time, where can I find a sugar-free, quality, vanilla extract?

I am so sick and tired of the adulterated and low quality ingredients found in commercial foods. Why is it so freakin' hard to find simple, straightforward ingredients that haven't been "adjusted" for cost saving reasons or expediancy? I'd happily pay more for what would now be considered a "premium" product.


post #2 of 6
I believe both Penzey's and The SpiceHouse use the same process To my knowledge neither uses water but both do use sugar. The Penzey extract uses Madagascar Beans and SpiceHouse has some extracts that use Madagascar beans and other varieties as well.

The only place I've noticed sugar-free extract from is from ICDC. I've never ordered from here. But I do get a bit suspicious from the overuse of words like certified organic is more of a marketing campaign (but that's the impression I get...I may be wrong). I prefer they let their spices talk for themselves rather than rely on a trendy marketing strategy, like TJ's and WF!

good luck!
post #3 of 6
Hi Shel. You mention that you've read, in several places, that you do not want sugar in vanilla extract? I'm not doubting that you read this...but every place that I've read it they make mention of the I've also seen people say that the cane sugar helps the alcohol age into an even better product with time (though I don't know if that's true).

Even a few places that offer a sugar-free option still have some cane sugar in their premium line of vanilla extract. Though all make mention that there is no corn sweeteners used.

good luck on your vanilla quest>>>

post #4 of 6
Welcome to Vanilla Saffron Imports aka "Golden Gate." The bad news is that if you don't like to buy off the web, they're only 30 minutes away by BART, and reasonably priced. No excuses.

Most big deal bakers who buy extract use a few brands, including Penzeys. And as far as I know all but one of them, Golden Gate, use sugar in all their blends. I found GG when I was on Atkins.

It takes awhile, but I urge you to make your own extract using a decent low-flavor vodka like Smirnoff; an inexpensive but smooth, dark rum like Brugal; a decent light rum like Flor de Cana (4); and/or an inexpensive but smooth cognac like Raynal or whatever TJ is currently selling. 4/5 quart will run you in the neighborhood of $20 -- more than you'd pay from Golden Gate. Worth seeing if you like your own better.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just found them when your message appeared in my box. Haven't looked thru the site yet as it just opened when I got your msg.

I've done so in the past, just once, and I may choose to do so again, just not now.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thus far I've found three companies that sell sugarless extract, some of which ar organic and fair trade. Don't know about their quality, but they were listed on The Very Best Premium Vanilla Extract Brands and Where to Buy Them

My understanding is that sugar will accelerate the aging process, not neccessarily make a better product.

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