Q: Is VanillaPura™ Extract pure vanilla extract? What does that mean?

A: The FDA really cares about vanilla extract. There are innumerable phony, cheap and unregulated extracts on the market today. These extracts use corn syrup, sugars and artificial sweeteners to create a smell and taste that simulates real vanilla. The FDA intervened and defined what a “Pure” vanilla extract classification really is. It stipulates that pure vanilla extract must contain 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of liquid and be 35% alcohol. The agency also limits other ingredients outside of vanilla beans and alcohol. If you’re interested, here is a link to the FDA site outlining its requirements.

VanillaPura™ is the most pure and rich vanilla in the world for one simple reason: We use just two ingredients: real vanilla beans and aged spirits with 35%+ alcohol level. The FDA rule was facilitated to protect “pure” vanilla extract from cheap, grocery store, imitation brands. 


Q: Can you help me understand what vanilla extract is?

A: There are roughly 300 distinct flavor compounds in a vanilla bean. Yet, ironically, a newly-plucked vanilla bean doesn’t smell much like vanilla. Its inherent taste and fragrance are part of its “essential oils”. The oils themselves must be extracted before we enjoy their benefits. Alcohol is a natural extrapolator that dissolves the bean’s essential oils and keeps them in suspension.

Many “pure” vanilla extract producers have found that they can use cheap alcohol (like corn or sugar alcohol used in “moonshine”) to keep their prices low. They also use sugars and/or corn syrup to sweeten the flavor. But the right kind of alcohol can enhance the true, inherent flavor of each vanilla bean, thereby accentuating the bean’s 300+ flavor compounds. Though it is more expensive, an aged vodka, bourbon or white rum will extract and enhance the true, authentic taste of the vanilla bean. Thus brining a more bold and defined vanilla profile to your pastries, creams & desserts.  Don’t forget, the FDA dictates that “pure extract” must be at least 35% alcohol in order to be called a “pure extract". All Vanilla Pura™ extracts are 35% alcohol or greater.


Q: How long do your vanilla extracts last? (Shelf life?)

A: VanillaPura™ extracts have up to a 3-year shelf life, when stored at room temperature. Since they are made with aged, fine spirits and the beans are left inside, the vanilla flavor will continue to be extracted over time. Hence, like a fine wine, VanillaPura™ actually becomes better with age. Once opened, and over time, if you notice a cloudy color or increased sediment at the bottom of the bottle, that is just gravity pulling down the flavor matter. Simply shake the bottle and continue use.


Q: Should I keep the vanilla beans inside the bottle the entire time?

A: Yes – at least for the first six months after bottling, to obtain the maximum vanilla flavor. Like a fine wine, the longer the beans are submerged in the spirits, the more bold and enhanced the vanilla taste will become. If you find that the beans are impeding a clean pour, simple empty the bottle by pouring the vanilla through a strainer into a container. Then, using a funnel, refill the bottle with the bean-less extract.


Q: What kind of alcohol do you use in your extracts?

A: Vanilla Pura uses only smooth, aged and finely distilled spirits. Our Vodka, Rum and Bourbon are carefully selected from many of the oldest distilleries around the world.


Q: Can I get drunk by consuming VanillaPura™ extract?

A: Vanilla extract is used in very small portions to enhance taste and sweetness. FDA requires that real vanilla extract includes at a minimum, 35% alcohol. All VanillaPura™ extracts include 35%-40% alcohol. So yes, you could get drunk if you consumed it like a beverage, but there are less expensive alternatives that don’t include excessive amounts of vanilla bean extract, if that's your intent.


Q: What are the dates and numbers on your bottles?

A: We include a “Bottled On” date, to indicate the day that the vanilla bean and spirits were bottled together. VanillaPura™ Extract can be used (and shipped) within 8 weeks of bottling. After 8 weeks, it tastes elegant and genuine. We recommend, however, that you wait for up to 6th months to achieve a full, flavor profile.

We also include a Lot Number. By numbering every batch of Vanilla Pura™ that we produce, we have complete traceability each ingredient used in that specific batch. Remember that this number isn’t a date, though it may look like it sometimes. For example, lot number 011517 may appear to be January 15, 2017. Our bottling dates will always be written out (i.e. “January 2017”), while our lot numbers will always be just a number and possibly a letter combination.


Q: VanillaPura™ is a Fulton365, LLC company. So will Fulton365 appear on my CC statement?

A: No. VanillaPura will appear on your statement. Fulton365, LLC is simply a parent company to VanillaPura as well as a retail consulting business. Owned exclusively by the Fulton Family, founder and CEO Paul Fulton and his wife Jill have worked and traveled in the Caribbean and Latin America for nearly 20 years as retailers and retail consultants. As entrepreneurs, they have started various businesses, all of which have begun under the umbrella of Fulton365. Jill Fulton is the Founder and Idea Chief of VanillaPura™. After purchasing both natural and imitation vanilla extract abroad, she discovered how difficult it was to find real, pure vanilla extract. And once you use pure vanilla extract, the imitation stuff just doesn’t cut it anymore. Jill wanted to create a safe place to buy the very best vanilla extract, made from real vanilla beans that have been harvested all around the world. She wanted to help others easily educate themselves about the world of Vanilla Beans.


Q: Do you use the whole bean, or a bean powder?

A: VanillaPura™ uses the whole bean. Processed beans (such as Vanilla Bean Powder or Paste) require flow agents for packing and use, such as maltodextrin, cornstarch and silica. Even in small quantities, those flow agents can alter the taste of the bean and adulterate the extraction process. VanillaPura™ beans are hand selected, cured on site and shipped directly to our facility, where we carefully slice and cut each bean to expose the inner pod, allowing the full bean flavor to be exposed during extraction. Nothing is ever added to or taken away from the bean.


Q: What are some additional uses of VanillaPura™ Extract?

A: Vanilla is a natural flavor expeditor or enhancer. In fact, vanilla is often used in chocolates, in coffee and various fruit and nut flavors. Furthermore, it provides subtle effects to spicy and acidic foods. It can mitigate the bite of hot chilies, tomato sauces, salsa and even BBQ sauces. It is used in roasts, dishes with ducks and seafood. Its applications are limitless and its effects are always subtle, savory and sweet.


Q: How do I store VanillaPura™ Extract?

A: Do not store it in a refrigerator and try to store it in a place with minimal to limited sunlight. VanillaPura™ utilize an attractive, decorative bottle to allow for storage on countertops, so that it is easily accessible and can be used conveniently.


Q: Where do VanillaPura™ vanilla beans originate?

A: Our goal at Vanilla Pura™ is to provide extract from vanilla beans in every vanilla growing region of the world. As a result, some extracts may be seasonal or in limited quantity. We were introduced to vanilla bean production as we spent decades working in regions like Mexico, Barbados, Jamaica and Central America. Like a coffee bean, each vanilla bean from each region of the world encapsulates the flavor of its climate, soil and environment. VanillaPura™ is a family of vanilla connoisseurs. We hope to provide you with a global tasting experience. As an example, Madagascar vanilla beans have a sweet, rich and creamy flavor. Mexican vanilla has a spice or a small kick hidden within its vanilla profile of creamy and sweet. Tahitian vanilla can be fruity, with hints of cherry or licorice. Each will add a culturally-rich flavor to your culinary treats.


Q: Is a vanilla bean a fruit or a vegetable? 

A: It's a fruit! Vanilla grows from an orchid…an exotic flower, and one of only 4 orchids that bares a fruit. Vanilla beans are cultivated in tropical regions around the world, where year-round warm temperatures and sufficient rainfall create soil conditions and climate that are suitable for proper growth.

Like many orchids, the Vanilla Planifolia (the vanilla bean orchid) is an epiphyte that lives on a host tree. It’s a vine that grows rapidly up and around an existing tree, but does not draw on the tree’s nutrients. The vanilla orchid can be up to 3 years old before it begins to grow vanilla bean pods. The pods themselves require an additional 9-10 months of growth before they can be harvested.


Q: Why do you call your Madascar vanilla beans “bourbon”? Is bourbon used to cure them?

A: No, the term Bourbon refers to a region in Madagascar where vanilla beans are cultivated. Today, Bourbon is known as Reunion Madagascar. There are other islands as well, such as Comoro, Seychelles and Mauritius—which are all located off the coast of Madascar. Bourbon is, however, one of the aged spirits (extractors) that we use with VanillaPura™ Extract, but the majority of any alcohol will either be cooked off during preparation or spread throughout the entirety of your dish.


Q: Are vanilla beans harvested year round? 

A: No. Most Vanilla beans are harvested once a year. There are exceptions, however. For example, Uganda harvests its beans twice a year, thanks to its climate of two dry seasons a year.


Q: I heard something about a vanilla bean shortage. What is that?

A: Climate-sensitive vanilla bean orchids require a lot of space and time. This means that very few regions around the world supply the entire, global market with vanilla beans. Because of extreme weather in 2016 and typhoons in early 2017, the vanilla bean market was significantly impacted and will remain impacted in 2018. Global supplies have dropped by as much as 50%, forcing vanilla bean prices up by more than 500%. Don’t be surprised to see higher pricing on all vanilla-based products through 2018.


Q: Are VanillaPura™ extracts suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

A: Yes – since we only use two ingredients: real vanilla beans and aged spirits.


Q: Do you provide clear nutritional facts? Are there any concerns with calories, fat, sugars, cholesterol, etc.?

A: The serving size of VanillaPura™ extract is only 1tsp. It is such a small amount, that most nutritional values are rounded down to zero. Because of that, we are not required by the FDA to place nutrition facts on our labels. As you will see, cooking with VanillaPura™ extract is a simple and healthy way to sweeten any dish.


Q: What is the difference between VanillaPura™ extract and the clear vanilla I see at the stores? 

A: Vanilla Pura extract is mostly brown in color. It is bottled in a clear class, so you can easily see the contents. It’s brown because that is the color of the real vanilla bean essential oil that has been extracted with aged spirits. The clear vanilla extract that you have seen is an imitation. It likely includes propylene glycol or glycerin as well as artificial vanillin. In rare cases, if you are working on a lighter-colored food (like white frosting), VanillaPura™ could possibly alter the color of the food, since our natural color is amber. However, given the small amount of extract used in most dishes, it seldom (if ever) has a noticeable affect.


Q: What is vanillin? 

A: Artificial vanillin is quite frequently found in artificial vanilla extract. It is an ingredient that is designed to imitate the naturally occurring vanillin found inside an all-natural vanilla bean. Unfortunately, artificial vanillin only simulates one component of a vanilla bean’s flavor profile, while real vanilla beans have over 300 components. Also, as with most artificial additives, vanillin is far from natural. It is a by-product of a petro-chemical.


Q: I have heard that Mexican vanilla extract isn’t safe. Is that true?  

A: Yes and No. Vanilla beans grown in Mexico are full of flavor. They are rich and creamy with a subtle, spicy kick. VanillaPura™ Mexican Extract is actually one of our most popular flavors.

The problem with Mexican vanilla extract is related to its production. You should be very careful where it is purchased…especially if you’re visiting Mexico and shopping in a tourist district. Here is why:

Mexican-produced vanilla extract quite frequently includes alarming and dangerous ingredients, such as Coumarin, (a carcinogen) that, for over 40 years now, has been banned by the FDA. Also, many Mexican-made vanilla extracts possess a number of artificial sweeteners, unhealthy syrups and unnatural flow agents to mimic a vanilla taste that is simply not real.

Remember, there is no USDA or FDA in Mexico and, as such, there are no (or minimal) labeling regulations. Vanilla extract manufacturers can simply say whatever they want. A bottle may say “pure vanilla extract”, but there is a very good chance that it isn’t entirely pure.


Q: Where is VanillaPura™ Extract manufactured? 

A: Our vanilla beans are sourced from around the world, and our manufacturing and bottling takes place near Salt Lake City, Utah – where the dry Utah air provides a perfect environment for preserving cured vanilla beans before being submerged in spirits for extraction.

Do you have a specific question you would like to ask concerning our vanilla products? Please email us directly at support@vanillapura.com