Was checking the difference between vanilla and artificial vanilla.
Artificial vanilla: is a byproduct of paper production or a derivative of coal tar. Coal tar has in the past had a possible link to cancer. Am still researching this.
Natural vanilla though: Cancer: Numerous studies have demonstrated that vanillin, the major component of vanilla, has anti-carcinogenic properties, killing human cancer cells, limiting metastasis (movement of cancer cells from the original site to the rest of the body), inhibiting angiogenesis (creation of new blood supply for tumor). Bromovanin, a vanillin derivative, has been found to stop the advance of a broad spectrum of human cancers. Research at New York University School of Medicine concluded that vanillin is antimutagenic – in human cells it reduced by up to 73% the ability of toxins to mutate DNA in 64 genes that may play a role in cancer.*
*Vanillin is generally regarded as safe for use in food and cosmetics. However, this does not suggest it is safe when inhaled from smoking cigarettes.Vanillin is known to release several substances when burnt. These include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have been classed as human cancer causing agents by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (a leading expert cancer organisation). http://health.gov.mt/en/environmental/Pages/Policy-Coordinating-Unit/PITOC/Vanillin.aspx
So don't smoke it.Home Brew: Vanilla Extract
A lot of commercial "pure" vanilla extracts may contain sugar, corn syrup, caramel or artificial colors as well as stabilizers, and just minimum amounts of low-grade alcohol. To avoid all that stuff and enjoy superior flavor, why not make your own? Here's how:
Take 5-6 vanilla pods (or more!), slice lengthwise, exposing the seeds.
Place pods in a clean jar with an airtight lid. A recycled jar (16 oz.) works well. (You can cut pods in shorter pieces, if too long for the container.)
Pour in enough vodka to cover the beans – any kind of vodka will do (many liquor stores now carry organic!) – and seal tightly. Put it in a cool place out of sunlight. Each day for a week, shake the jar gently, then shake once a week or so for at least 8 weeks, though many aficionados recommend 3 – 5 months for optimum flavor. That's it!
You can remove the beans or keep them in the jar, adding more vodka as you start using the extract. The beans will continue to add flavor for up to a year, but the extract will last for years. For a unique gift: pour into smaller bottles with a pod or two. Cheers!http://www.rethinkingcancer.org/resources/recipes/vanilla-extract.php
In the Kitchen
In Europe and the U.S., vanilla is traditionally found in sweet dishes, though vanilla itself is not sweet. It’s gentle, full-bodied fragrance enhances puddings, cakes, custards, creams, soufflés, ice cream, even liqueurs like Crème de Cacao and Galliano. In Africa and other tropical countries, however, it’s used more in savory stews than sweet treats. Western chefs are just beginning to catch on, adding vanilla to sauces, mostly for fish.
If possible, use fresh beans instead of extract, though both can be used in cooking. To prepare the bean, slit the pod and scrape out the seeds; both pod and seeds can be added. Here are a few different ways of cooking with vanilla:
The spice is exceptional with lobster, shrimp, scallops. Make a cream sauce and spike with vanilla beans.
Vanilla marries well with butter. Add a little to butter sauces for savory dishes featuring fish or chicken.
Use vanilla to round out stronger flavors in salsa, chutney, curries.
Steep a vanilla bean in coffee, cover and chill. Serve with whipped cream and grated nutmeg.
Add vanilla to fruit compotes with apples, gooseberries, rhubarb.
Add a drop or 2 of vanilla extract to holiday eggnog or when whipping fresh cream.