The difference between vanilla bean and vanillin

The vanilla it is available on the market in different forms and among the classic ones berry and the vanillin there is more than one significant one difference. It remains one of the most used aromas in pastry, but choose one shape rather than the other can give our preparations a unique touch. Know them features then it becomes a necessary premise.

Vanilla bean

The vanilla bean is extracted from the pod of some species orchids. Vanilla Bourbon, among the best known, from the island of Reunion, has a particularly intense aroma. The vanilla of Tahiti presents, however, notes reminiscent of tobacco, while that of New Guinea it is very valuable. Pods can be bought at supermarketwhere they are usually sold in tubes glass or plastic. If their quality is good, the stick, about 10 cm long, will appear flexible and almost oily. Engraving it the pulp is revealed and, scraping with the tip of the knife, it can be removed together with the semi to use for preparations. The empty pod can then be reusedinserted in a jar of sugar or, perhaps, boiled together with milk, as a flavouring.


The difference between vanilla bean and vanillin is evident if we look at the definition of the latter. It is, in fact, the molecule which gives the berries their characteristic aroma. So there is vanilla naturalobtained directly from the pods, and that synthetic, obtained for the first time in the laboratory in 1874, which is the variety we commonly buy. It is obtained from the processing of cellulose or from guaiacol and eugenol, fractions of Petroleum. For the product to become edible it comes purified by distillation and crystallization. Vanillin is sold in practices sachets already dosed, in powder form, or in vialsif liquid. It is mostly used in pastry shopbut it is also found in some wines and liquor or in products cosmetics.

Difference between vanilla bean and vanillin

To avoid that vanilla bean and vanillin are confused is a substantial difference. The former represents, in fact, a totally product naturalwhile the second is artificial. The relatives costs emphasize this distinction. In fact, synthetic powder reaches a price of 30 $/kgwhile 1 kg of vanilla pods also comes to worth too 2.000 $. The disproportion is due to the process through which the berries are obtained. Vanilla flowers must, indeed, be pollinated by hand and obtaining the pods requires months of work. The flavor given to the preparations is, however, more aromatic e particular if a natural product is used, it is more decisive e classico if our choice falls on vanillin.

Knowing the difference between a vanilla bean and vanillin doesn’t mean making a choice unilateral. The preference for one of the two ingredients does not detract from the other. Many opt for the use of sachets, more practical and economical, for sweets everydaybut they provide themselves with berries for the recipes of great occasions. Gluttony is the protagonist of very few discriminations.

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