National Geographic’s October 2013 report, which suggests that the vanilla flavoring we use in baking may be derived from beaver secretions, has recently gained widespread attention. If you are wondering whether the claim is correct or not, you have arrived at the right place.
Where does vanilla flavoring come from
Vanilla is derived from orchids belonging to the genus Vanilla. It’s essentially a vine that develops long, thin, green pods. When these pods reach maturity, they turn a dark brown color. Small black color beads are removed from the pod and processed into vanilla flavoring. Vanilla extract is created by macerating vanilla beans in a solution of water and ethanol. A variety of additional components contribute to the flavor and aroma of vanilla. Castoreum, a beaver-related substance, is one of them.