In order to keep your baking totally non-toxic, you may want to buy organic extracts and flavorings. These can be a bit tricky to find, but are becoming more popular as consumers demand organic products in every category.
Organic Extracts and Concentrates
There are two basic types of extracts and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know the differences so that you can achieve the best results for the items that you are making.
Organic extracts are usually made in a base of organic alcohol or glycerin. Because of this, these flavorings are not as heat stable as the flavor concentrates. The extracts, especially alcohol based extracts, should be used in beverages, ice creams, and chilled items.
Concentrates are often made in a base of gum acacia. They are more heat stable than the flavorings, but the flavor may not be as bright and clear as the alcohol based extract.
Another possibility is finding the flavor that you are looking for in a powdered form. The powdered flavorings are more delicate in flavor and you will need to learn the right amount for each recipe. They are handy to have around and easy to use. The powdered flavorings are usually put in a base of dextrose to keep them easy to mix. They last a long time and are perfect for the beginning baker.
How Are Organic Extracts Defined?
Do you really need to buy organic extracts and flavorings? The organic regulations can be confusing. The National Organic Program (NOP) does not make a distinction between agricultural and nonagricultural flavorings. Any non-synthetic flavor ingredient may be used in an organic product. It does not actually need to be organically sourced as long as it is a "natural ingredient" and not man-made.
These flavorings cannot contain any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and must not have been irradiated. What does that mean to you, the consumer? Basically, that natural flavorings are acceptable for inclusion in organic products, even if they are not sourced organically. This means that paying extra for a flavoring because it is marked organic may not be necessary. Make sure that your flavoring is all natural and not synthetic, but there is no need to pay extra for organic.
Where to Buy Organic Extracts and Flavorings
You can usually find a selection of organic flavors and extracts at your health food or natural food store. In fact, many conventional grocery stores are now carrying some organic extracts, usually at least vanilla. If you can't find organic extracts at a local store, you may want to check some of these Internet retailers.
Nature's Flavors is an Internet company that carries a huge variety of extracts, concentrates, and flavorings. They even have powdered flavors and flavoring oils for coffee and tea. They also have natural and organic food colorings.
Mountain Rose Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs carries a selection of organic extracts. These are 100% certified. The extracts are steeped in a base of grain alcohol and water. This means that the extracts are without artificial colors, and other toxins that may affect your body. Each of the extracts is certified Kosher and organic.
Gold Coast is a wholesaler and does not supply goods to the general public. If you have a bakery or other food related business, however, they can supply you with many different organic flavoring products.
Cost and Benefit
If having a purely organic flavoring is important to you, it may be difficult to find all of the flavors you are looking for. Since finding completely organic flavorings in a large variety can be almost impossible, you may want to just make sure that the label states that it is a natural flavoring. If, on the other hand, you are just looking for some organic vanilla then you can easily find that at most grocers.