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Rodelle Vanilla and Organic Vanilla Extracts, reviewed

Rodelle Vanilla Extracts
Any baker will tell you that vanilla is one of the most essential ingredients that you can have in your pantry. Although only a small amount goes into most recipes, vanilla can improve the flavor of just about everything it touches. I try to keep a good supply of vanilla on hand, both extracts and vanilla beans, and even make vanilla sugar with previously used vanilla beans so I have yet another source. I recently tried Rodelle’s Vanilla Extract and Organic Vanilla Extracts. Rodelle is a company that specializes in vanilla and vanilla extract, and though you may not have heard of them (perhaps they’re not carried in your local market) they have been around since 1936, brewing vanilla beans in search of the best flavor for bakers to use.

The reason that Rodelle’s Vanillas are interesting is that the company says they have one of the highest vanillin levels on the market in their products. More vanillin translates to a better, stronger vanilla flavor. I tried both the Pure Vanilla and the Organic Vanillas in batches of simple vanilla pudding (as well as in a few cake recipes) to compare the flavor and was very happy with the results. The vanillas are both made with bourbon vanilla beans and have a wonderfully sweet, floral flavor to them, which came through nicely in my test recipes. Even if you smell them straight out of the bottle, you will definitely have a stronger vanilla overtone than you might with some other vanilla extracts, where the alcohol smell/flavor can be more upfront.

I will say that both had very similar overall flavor profiles, so if you’re trying to decide which to try, it’s up to you whether you prefer organic products or not. You’ll get great results either way, especially in a recipe that is vanilla-heavy – such as vanilla pudding or vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting – where you can really taste the difference between a high quality vanilla and a lower quality one.

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  • Jessika
    November 2, 2010

    Another great thing – unfortunately not Rodelle brand – is vanilla paste. The seeds of vanilla pods in one little jar, i.e., pure vanilla. Well worth the cost.

  • Nicole
    November 2, 2010

    Jessika – I really like vanilla bean paste, too! Actually, I think that Rodelle does make a vanilla bean paste, I just haven’t seen it around near me. It’s at the bottom of their products page, here: http://rodellekitchen.com/products/vanilla

  • Jen
    November 3, 2010

    I saw this brand of extract at my local Save Mart. I bought their lemon extract and it was the most potent lemon extract I’ve had. It really shined in the muffins I was making! I’ll be sure to give their vanilla extract a try too, thanks for your review!

  • Kelley Fountain
    November 3, 2010

    I am considering making my own vanilla extract. Have you ever done that? I am wondering if you get better quality.

  • Rochelle
    November 7, 2010

    I love this vanilla extract! I live in Jerusalem and organic stores stock it here. I like to kick it up a notch by putting a vanilla bean into the bottle and let it steep for a couple of weeks before using, so the vanilla is even stronger.

  • Sara
    November 7, 2010

    This is pretty much the only vanilla I use – interestingly, both in NC and Oregon, it was always the best value – the bottle is larger but the per unit cost is lower.

  • Jessika
    November 8, 2010

    Kelley, just pass on trying ot make it yourself. I collect orchids, vanilla is an orchid, and have had a person trying to grow vanilla by planting a pod (the dried vanilla pod) in soil.
    Just buy a good brand from either a fair trade grower or go for a good organic brand.

    On the vanilla paste etc., I’ve frequently bought vanillaworks out of the UK.

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