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closeAromatic Chemicals - Menthol, Vanillin, Other
closeBakery Emulsions
closeEssential Oils
closeImitation Extracts & Flavors
closePure Extracts / Natural Flavors
closeVanilla Extract, Beans, Seeds, Paste & Sugar
closeChili Peppers
closeBlack, Green, White & Rainbow Peppercorns
closeSpices (For Baking & Brewing)
Product Information
 

Silver Cloud Estates, LLC
1550 Caton Center Drive
Suite H
Halethorpe, MD 21227
Tel# 410-565-6600
Fax# 410-565-6601

    

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Silver Cloud's products manufactured?

Silver Cloud's Vanilla Beans and Pure Vanilla Extract are produced on the Silver Cloud Estates, located in the beautiful Nilgiri, or Blue Mountains, of Southern India. The products are packaged and shipped to customers from our facility in Baltimore, Maryland. This enables us to deliver orders within a few days of them being placed.

Silver Cloud's Vanilla Bean Paste, Vanilla Sugar, pure premium extracts, natural flavors and imitation extracts and flavors are all manufactured, packaged and shipped from Baltimore. Any vanilla sold or used in our products, except our Pure Mexican Vanilla Extract, is always from the estates.

What is propylene glycol?

Most flavor ingredients (essential oils, oleoresins and aromatic chemicals) are oil soluble and will not disperse in water. This can be a problem, since the majority of food and beverage products are aqueous.  As a result various solvents, emulsifiers and carriers are used in flavors to disperse the oil soluble ingredients.

Propylene glycol is a food grade, clear, colorless, slightly syrupy, solvent, which is hygroscopic and relatively inexpensive. It is highly effective in dispersing oil soluble flavor ingredients. Other commonly used solvents and carriers are ethyl alcohol, polysorbate 80, and triacetin. The solvent, or combination of solvents, which are used in a particular extract or flavor is largely based on the characteristics of the flavor ingredients, food product being flavored and customer requirements.

Propylene glycol, which is generally known as "PG" in the flavor industry, tastes bitter and is slightly sweet. If you dip a finger in some of your flavors and extracts containing propylene glycol and taste them, these characteristics are very evident.  Since most extracts and flavors are used at  low levels (0.50% or less) the flavor of propylene glycol is rarely perceptible in foods or beverages.

The propylene glycol used by Silver Cloud meets the requirements established by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) the U.S. Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) as well as the European and Japanese Pharmacopeias.  It also meets the requirements of the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia (Farmacop√©ia Brasileira), and fulfills the purity criteria detailed in the European Council Directive 2000/63/EC for food additives, other than colors and sweeteners.

Propylene glycol also functions as a preservative in extracts and flavors. Many retail extracts and flavors would not be completely shelf stable without propylene glycol.

What is an imitation extract?

The term "imitation" extract was popularized by McCormick & Co. and other manufacturers of retail bakery extracts to describe extracts containing artificial flavors. Although they are one and the same, consumers prefer the term imitation to artificial. Imitation extracts are typically less expensive than pure extracts and natural flavors. This is largely due to the fact that the synthetic flavor ingredients used to make imitation extracts are generally less expensive than their natural equivalents.

How are flavor extracts made?

Every time you make coffee in a coffee maker, you are making an extract.  In the example of coffee you are using water as the solvent to extract the flavor compounds.  In many cases, however, the flavor compounds found in botanicals are not water soluble, but rather oil soluble.  As an example, if you attempted to make "coffee" using ground black pepper it would have little flavor and pungency.  This is due to the fact that most of the flavor compounds in pepper are not water soluble, but rather oil soluble.  As a result, solvents such as ethyl alcohol, which extract oil soluble compounds, are used to make extracts.
Many extracts are not "true" extracts, but rather solutions in ethyl alcohol and water.  While it's relatively easy to make extracts, it is challenging to make them well.  The exact process a company uses is usually considered proprietary.  A well made extract will be clear and will not cloud the product in which it is being used. 

When a "true" flavor extract is made, the ingredient being extracted is actually "washed" using a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water.  The ingredient (in this example an essential oil) is placed in a tank.  Alcohol and water are pumped into the tank and the three products are blended together. The amount of alcohol and water, as well as the amount of agitation, is adjusted depending on the ingredient being extracted and the extract's specifications. 

The mixture (alcohol, water and essential oil) is then allowed to settle.  The alcohol and water will slowly separate from the essential oil.  As this separation occurs, the flavor from the essential oil is extracted into the alcohol and water.  This process can take a few hours or sometimes several days.  Extraction with alcohol is not completely efficient and as a result much of the flavor remains in the product being extracted.   

The alcohol and water, which at this point is typically described as an "intermediate" is then filtered and usually adjusted with additional alcohol.  The added alcohol helps to clarify the finished extract.
Botanicals, such as vanilla beans are washed in a similar manner. The main difference is the solvent (alcohol and water) is circulated through the cut beans in lieu of it being a static process. More detailed information about the extraction of vanilla beans is available at www.silvercloudestates.com/pages/vanilla_process.aspx .

Why is glycerin used in some flavors and imitation extracts?

Glycerin, like propylene glycol, is used as a solvent in flavors.  While propylene glycol has superior solvent characteristics, it is bitter tasting and there is a limit to how much can be used in a flavor formulation without imparting a bitter note.  Glycerin, therefore, is sometimes used in flavor with propylene glycol to help improve its solubility and reduce the amount of propylene glycol needed.  Natural glycerin is also one of the few organic compliant solvents a flavor chemist has to use.  As a result, it is increasingly being used in flavors for organic products.

Do Silver Cloud's extracts contain any sugar or gluten?

All of Silver Cloud's extracts are gluten free and do not contain any added sugar. Our Vanilla Sugar and Vanilla Bean Paste are also gluten free. These two products, however, do contain sugar.

What is triacetin and why is it used in flavors?

Triacetin, like propylene glycol, is another food grade solvent.  It is used in many oil miscible flavors to dissolve powdered flavor ingredients, such as vanillin and heliotropine.  Triacetin is also sometimes used to improve the stability of "heat stressed" flavors in baking and cooking applications.

Where are vanilla beans grown?

Until recently vanilla beans were grown in just four countries, Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico and Tahiti.  Today, they are also grown commercially in India, Uganda and Papua New Guinea.  Small quantities are also produced in Costa Rica and in Hawaii.  For more information visit www.silvercloudestates.com/pages/vanilla_types.aspx .

How many times a year is vanilla harvested?

Vanilla beans are picked just once a year.  This is true no matter where the beans are grown.  For more detailed information about the growing of vanilla visit www.silvercloudestates.com/pages/vanilla_growing.aspx .

 

 

Whole Vanilla Beans

Silver Cloud offers the finest cured Vanilla Beans, which can be purchased in glass tubes containing three beans or 8 ounce and 17 ounce vacuum sealed pouches.  There are approximately 40 beans in an 8 ounce pouch.  Since our beans are sold by weight, depending on the size of the beans, the number in a pouch will vary.

For Whole Vanilla Beans Click Here

News

This month we have added Cantaloupe, Natural Flavor Blend, Maple Bacon, Natural Flavor Blend, Imitation Sweet Potato Pie Extract, Imitation Vanilla Cream Cookie Filling Extract and Imitation Vanilla Custard Extract. All of these extracts and flavors can be used for baking, beverages (including beer, wine and spirits) and ice cream. Coming Soon - Macadamia Nut, Raisin, Strawberry-Kiwi, Marshmallow, Red Bull, Acai and Prickly Pear flavors. We wish all of our friends and customers a happy and prosperous 2014.

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