Every year around this time, I make carrot cake. It’s become a tradition. It’s a large cake, and I’m the only one in the house who likes it. I give about 1/4 of it away to someone else who loves it as much as I do, put 1/2 of it in the freezer to savour in January and leave the rest out to eat over the holidays.
I’ve shared my recipe for this cake here: Recipe: Carrot Cake.
This year, instead of using vanilla extract, I used rum. Coldstream Coconut Rum to be exact since that was what I had on hand. I was told a few years ago that alcohol, particularly rum, can be a substitute for vanilla, but I had never tried it. After reading a horrifying article about the future of vanilla extract, I’m looking for alternatives. Vanilla sticks are expensive, and rum is still needed to make homemade vanilla flavouring.
When substituting rum for vanilla, double the quantity. In other words, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of vanilla, put in 2 teaspoons of rum.
I was eager to see if there was a taste difference with the rum in the carrot cake, but there wasn’t. At least nothing I noticed. The cake was still delicious.
Now onto the horrifying story of how our food continues to be contaminated.
When I read the comment beneath a video I had watched about scientists recycling plastic into vanilla, I laughed. No, they weren’t. It was preposterous. Still, I searched to prove the story wrong. Imagine my shock when I learned scientists were and had already done so.
I ran a search again to find a link to share, and the first article that came up was “Scientists convert used plastic bottles into vanilla flavouring” at The Guardian. It was published June 15, 2021.
I’m all for recycling plastic. Heck, I wish they would ban all water bottles smaller than 1 litre. There are millions of them, and they are extremely unnecessary. However, turning these bottles into a food product is insane.
As time passes, this “vanilla” will be added to many processed foods by large companies, and consumers will have no idea they are eating recycled plastic. The ingredient label will simple say vanilla.
With this in mind, I’m working on switching to rum permanently for every recipe to avoid plastic. Over the next few months, I’m going to try out my favourite recipes to see if it works.
Think health. Stay wild. Stay free.