Almost everyone to bakes his/her own cake or cookies is familiar with vanilla extract. It’s a well-known kitchen ingredient for many different baked products.
The fabulous taste it adds to the food makes vanilla extract even more popular. However, you should check whether there are any potential hazards related to its use.
And one of the first questions to come to mind would be – Is vanilla extract flammable. Stick to the guide to know the essential points about flammability.
Can Vanilla Extract Catch Fire?
The answer is surprisingly straightforward – yes, vanilla extract can catch fire. And this effectively makes the popular baking product flammable or combustible.
A possible fire hazard is a major concern while handling a large amount. In fact, there is a well-specified industrial guideline to handle any accidental condition.
Why is Vanilla Extract Flammable?
At least 35% of the composition comes from ethanol alone. And the remaining shares are covered by other ingredients. It’s the ethanol or ethyl alcohol that makes the baking ingredient flammable.
The melting point of vanilla extract is about 83°C – 8°5C under normal conditions. But the flashpoint is notably low at >100°C only. So, you better stay cautious while working with it inside the kitchen.
Fire Hazard of Vanilla Extracts:
The fair percentage of ethyl alcohol in the vanilla extract can easily catch fire. It’s in your best interest to avoid any combustible mixture or contact.
Also, the chances of explosion are relatively less with the regular amount. But the scenario is different with a larger amount for commercial uses.
The evaporated ethanol can create an explosive vapor-water mixture. Keeping the windows open for air ventilation can reduce the potential risks.
How to Extinguish Vanilla Extract Fire?
Accidental kitchen occurrences can eventually ignite the vanilla extract. You can put the fire out easily if the extent is somewhat small.
You can use foam, halo, dry chemicals, and even carbon dioxide as distinguishers. But problems may arise with the use of water spray.
In fact, the composition in vanilla extract except ethanol decides on this issue. So, better avoid using any water stream on the fire.
Don’t randomly move the burning pot, bowl, or pan out of fear. Keep the fire steady without increasing the chances of getting burnt.
How to Handle Extract Spills and Leaks?
Even a slight amount can catch fire to cause issues in your kitchen. And you already know it’s a notably lower flashpoint. Therefore, don’t neglect the risks surging from scattered spills and leaks.
Always use non-reactive materials to wipe & dump the spills. Otherwise, the reactive mix will pose more threat to your space. Better use broom or mop for collecting and sand or clay for disposal.
No matter what, don’t risk yourself with spills of vanilla extract anywhere. Always check the vanilla extract container for possible leaks. Also, change the container or bottle whether there’s any leak.
Preventing Vanilla Extract from Catching Fire:
Always try to bake your foods using vanilla extract in a dry and cool place. You can definitely perform the chores in your kitchen as well.
However, make sure the liquid stays away from heat, fire, or other damaging elements.
Again, keep the item distant from hot surfaces, sparks, and other flames. Surprisingly, you even need to keep it away from electric discharges.
Clean all the spills right away from the prepping place before going back to your work.
Does Heating Causes Evaporation of Vanilla Extract?
Heating vanilla extract beyond the melting point will cause eventual evaporation. However, it only evaporates the ethyl alcohol in the first phases.
So, the other remaining contents will hold their shared percentages. But your vanilla extract will get burnt past a certain point due to overheating.
That’s why vanilla extract is used in the final phases of cooking baked foods. Heating the item will do no good if you’re concerned about the fire hazard.
Pure Vanilla vs. Vanilla Extract: which is more flammable?
Don’t lose track of pure vanilla with vanilla extract. Pure vanilla is a mixture of water, glycerin, and vanilla bean extract.
Meantime, vanilla extract combines extracts with ethanol and other compounds. But either one gives the taste of vanilla.
Pure vanilla extract is a non-flammable baking food product. The absence of ethyl alcohol makes the item totally incombustible.
Health Hazard of Vanilla Extracts:
You shouldn’t omit the potential risks involved with handling the extract. Minimal spills can barely cause health issues while baking cookies or cakes.
However, a great amount is likely to affect your skin, eye, and lungs on contact. Carefully handling the item should possess no life-threatening problems.
The highly flammable material can turn your pleasant baking time into a nightmare. Hopefully, you can comfortably handle any situation regarding vanilla extract’s combustion.