Vanilla has got to be one of the most amazing and comforting scents there is, but more importantly, it makes your baked goods taste amazing. If you love to purchase vanilla products when you are traveling, these tips will help you make sure you're purchasing the real thing. 1 - You get what you pay for The orchids that produce vanilla aren't as plentiful in Mexico as they used to be and vanilla beans per ounce are more expensive than silver. Vanilla beans are one of the most labour-intensive crops in the world to harvest. If you see a large bottle of vanilla extract in a shop at a very low price, it's very likely there's no vanilla in it at all.
2 - Buy from a reputable source
Fake vanilla extract is made from a variety of chemicals that you likely wouldn't want to consume if you knew they were there. Buy from a reliable source to make sure what you are getting is vanilla and nothing more.
3 - Read the ingredients
If the ingredients aren't clearly listed or if it contains tonka beans, leave it on the shelf. Tonka beans contain courmarin, which can be toxic to the liver. If you see artificial colouring or ingredients you can barely pronounce, those are a sign of it being artificial as well. Extract ingredients are generally water, alcohol, and vanilla, with some products also having some sugar. You want vanilla extract, not vanilla flavour - so that's something to watch for as well. While there are labeling laws for vanilla production, they vary by location and are not always followed.
4 - Look at the colour
Amber coloured and clear is what you are looking for. Very dark/cloudy or completely clear without colour are both signs that it's a synthetic product.