Flavor Extracts
Vanilla Extract
   Cooking Extracts | Vanilla Extract

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Cooking extracts come in almost every flavor imaginable, from almond extract to vanilla extract and countless flavors in between. There is rum extract, ginger extract and carrot extract, to name a few. There are even exotic extracts such as lilac cooking extracts and truffle extracts.

Extracts come in three forms. If natural cooking extracts and imitation cooking extracts are categorized separately then it can be said that cooking extracts come in four forms. Cooking extracts, food essences and essential oils are the three main forms of natural food flavorings used for cooking. Essential cooking oils are highly concentrated and are made by distilling the plant or by the traditional method of cold-pressing the plant oils out of the plant. Food extracts are produced by saturating the food in either an alcohol base or a glycerin base liquid. Food essences are similar to extracts and are produced in a variety of ways, depending on the food. For example, coffee essence can be made simply by soaking coffee beans in a small amount of water.

All of these food extracts can be purchased in a variety of sizes and forms. Most extracts, essences and oils can be found on-line. Oils and essences are sold in candy stores, in large supermarkets or in certain pharmacies. Some extracts, such as vanilla extract and lemon extract, can be home made.

Essential cooking oils are stronger. As a rule of thumb, only one part of essential oil is required for every four parts of extract required. Food essences are stronger or milder than food extracts, depending on how the essence was produced. Alcohol-based extracts evaporate easily because of the alcohol content. They should be stored in a cool, dark place with the lid secured tightly. The flavors of extracts, especially natural cooking extracts, do not survive in the heat of high cooking temperatures and they should be the last ingredient added to a recipe.
Food extracts are used in most cooking recipes. Essential oil for hard candies and lip gloss are the most common uses for food oils. Food essences are used primarily for light, delicate foods without strong flavors of their own, such as pastries with a flaky crust.

Websites and cookbooks explain uses of extract flavors; such as orange extract is used in French cooking and Mediterranean cooking. Almond extract compliments vanilla-flavored foods.

There are two basic kinds of truffle oil for cooking; one is white and one is black. White truffle oil is milder and goes with white fish and cream sauces. Black truffle oil is stronger and goes with meats and heavy sauces. Truffle oils need to be added at the end of the cooking process. They are expensive yet only a little truffle oil is required so a bottle will last a long time.
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