Almonds have been around for a while now, and they are one of the most popular nuts we use in our daily diet (actually, they are seeds, but we prefer to call them nuts for some reason). According to a survey published by M. Shahbandeh, the almond per capita consumption in the United States amounted to approximately 2.06 kilos in 2019.
So, we really like almonds. And it’s only natural that we use Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring to add that distinct, bitter-sweet Almond Flavor to our food. But how do we know when to use Almond Flavoring and when to use Almond Extract? Or can they be used interchangeably?
To answer these questions, we’ll have to dig a little deeper and understand how both of these flavoring ingredients are made, what they contain, and how they are used. But before we get right to it, did you know that the Egyptians used almonds as a prime ingredient in bread, which was given to Pharos? Or that, Almonds have their origin in Central Asia; from there, they were transported to Europe through the silk road?
You probably didn’t know these, but enough almond facts for now. Let’s talk about the difference between Almond extract and Almond Flavoring.
Difference Between Extract and Flavoring
When we talk about extracting, we usually mean to take something out, whether it’s a decayed tooth or a piece of information from a book. If you google what Extract means, it will give you something like “remove or take out, especially by effort or force.” This statement is right to some extent, but when we talk in terms of food, an extract means “a preparation containing the active ingredient of a substance in concentrated form.”
On the other hand, the flavoring is not something we derive from a natural source; it’s simply a substance used to give a different, stronger, or more agreeable taste to food or drink. Flavorings usually have no other function except to add flavor. Hence, they have no other component added to them except the chemical responsible for the flavor, stabilizers, and preservatives (in some cases).
Pure vs. Natural Almond Extract
Now that we have a basic idea about the difference between Flavoring and Extract, let’s talk about the different types of extracts available today.
When it comes to extracts, there are generally two types that we need to know about; natural extracts and pure extracts. Natural Almond Extract is made from cassia bark, which is similar to cinnamon, but with a stronger flavor. On the other hand, Pure Almond Extract is made from bitter almonds or the pits of other stone fruits or dupes.
In this article, when we talk about Almond Extract, we refer to Pure Almond extract. It is natural to think that people prefer their Pure Almond Extract from almonds, but that’s not the case. According to Mashed, people usually prefer the Almond Extract from other dupes because of its mellow and rich flavor.
Almond Extract vs. Almond Flavoring Ingredients
Almond Extract’s main ingredients are alcohol, water, and almond oil. The main chemical in almond oil that gives it its flavor is benzaldehyde. This almond oil can be extracted from cold-pressing almonds or the pits of other dupes or stone fruits.
Almond Extract also has cyanide present, which can be lethal if taken in large doses. But generally speaking, no one really consumes enough Almond Extract to become toxic. So, it is safe, and you don’t have to be extra careful when using Almond Extract.
Almond Flavoring and its types
Almond Flavoring or Almond essence is of two types. It can either be an imitation extract or a concentrated extract form. Imitation extract is made synthetically. The active ingredient used is benzaldehyde, which gives the flavoring its almondy flavor.
The concentrated form of the Extract, or Concentrated Flavoring, has a taste that is 2 – 4 times stronger than normal Almond Extract.
Almond Extract vs. Almond Flavoring Nutrition and Cost
When it comes to nutrition, Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring have almost no nutrients present in them. Some Almond Extracts may contain 4 carbs equivalent to 16 Kcals and make up less than 5 % of our daily carbohydrate requirements.
Other than that, both of these ingredients have essentially no proteins, fats, or other nutrients in them. One more chemical present in Almond extract is cyanide. According to a research
Almond Extract is usually more expensive than Almond flavoring because the Extract is made using more expensive natural ingredients. On average, one ounce of Almond Extract costs between $1 – $3.5, while Almond Flavoring costs between $0.5 – $2 per ounce. But it should be kept in mind that Almond Extract is much more potent than Almond Flavoring, so a tiny bottle of almond extract will last much longer than Almond Flavoring.
Ways of Using Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring
Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, it is best to use Almond Extract in recipes where almond is the main ingredient or the main flavor. Almond Extract is most commonly used in baking, but other recipes use Almond extract but require no baking.
Almond Extract can also be used as a substitution for vanilla extract if you want to try something new, and vanilla extract feels too … Vanilla. Almond extracts also pair really well with whipped cream and foods such as apricot tart, peach cobbler, and plum crumble.
According to a survey at Statista, it was revealed that Almond Extract was among the top ingredients in beauty products that consumers believed had a nurturing effect. So, It’s not just about the taste, but health as well.
So What’s the Difference Between Almond Extract and Almond Flavoring
- Almond Extract is usually more expensive as compared with Almond Flavoring.
- Almond Extract has more natural ingredients than Almond Flavoring.
- Alcohol is used in Almond Extract, while no alcohol is used in Almond Flavoring.
- Almond Flavoring is synthetically made in a lab or industry, while Almond Extract is extracted from natural ingredients.
- Almond Extract has cyanide present in it, while Almond Flavoring has no cyanide.
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