If that interests you, read on.
I never use anything but vanilla extract. I just do! The flavor of imitation vanilla extract disappears with heat. This next month will be the month I make my own vanilla extract. It will be cheaper than the McCormick tiny, precious bottles of vanilla extract.
In the meantime, I found reasons I have been wise to use a good vanilla product. Sure, there are probably more expensive ones, but this one has worked well for me for years. I certainly won't throw out my bottle of store-bought vanilla when I have made my own!
"Vanilla might be the boring old stand-by favorite when it comes to flavors, but it's also insanely expensive. The complicated process that needs to happen to grow real vanilla beans means it's one of the most expensive per-unit foods in your grocery store, and the price-per point of vanilla beans means that extract (the real stuff, not the imitation flavor) can be mind-bogglingly expensive. Sure, it goes a long way, but there's also no reason to buy it.
First, a bit about what's in imitation vanilla. That's made from a compound called vanillin, and chemically, it's the exact equivalent to the stuff that makes real vanilla, well, vanilla. Vanillin is a lot cheaper, though, and that's because it's a byproduct that can be extracted from things like coal and wood. Who wants that in their cookies? As if that wasn't bad enough, the FDA has warned against the dangers of certain types of vanilla extract that come from Mexico. These rip-off varieties of vanilla look and smell like the real thing, but they also contain a chemical called coumarin. It's banned by the FDA, still shows up on shelves in import stores, and can act as a powerful blood-thinner. Potentially dangerous types of this vanilla extract can also have tonka beans listed as an ingredient.
If you want to be completely safe, why not just make your own? It's easy: just invest in some real vanilla pods and a bottle of your alcohol of choice. That can be rum, brandy or vodka, they'll all work. Put in the beans, let them sit, and you'll have an entire bottle of pure vanilla extract at a fraction of the price."
In the meantime I found THIS. Below is an excerpt.
"Don't buy a food product in the United States that is not labeled in English. Products may have Spanish or other non-English labeling, but they must also have complete English labeling to meet U.S. Government standards. (Products sold only in Puerto Rico are an exception—they are not required to be labeled in English.)"
Coumarin, rat poison and anti-coagulant, could be in your cheap imitation vanilla. If the price is too good to be true, beware.
I read bloggers who suggest going to an ethic market, that it does not matter if the label is not in English. Are you sure?
Do your ever use imitation vanilla extract? Do you make your own vanilla?