Tonka bean is the seed of Diplerix Odor-ata, of Wildinham, a large tree growing in Guiana. It is not described as being used for, or recommended as, a flavoring for culinary purposes, in the text-books, but only for flavoring snuff. We all well know, however, its extensive use as a flavoring in cookery.

Two varieties, as commonly found in the market, are noted, Angostura and Para; the former being held at a price much above the latter. Another kind, Surianum, is also known in commerce.

The Tonka bean has a strong, agreeable, rather heavy, aromatic odor, which, while not resembling the vanilla in flavor, is almost universally substituted for it in the manufacture of cheap forms of that extract, and accepted without question, from its long continued use, by a sane and confiding public.

The formulas for vanilla extract, which follow, will all contain it, to fill a want, and as a necessary condition of the trade, as we find it.

Extract of Vanilla with Tonka

Vanilla Beans.............................................

4 ounces.

Tonka Beans ...........................................................

8 ounces.

Deodorized Alcohol (proof)........

8 pints.

Simple Syrup..............................................

2 pints.

Cut and bruise the Vanilla Beans, afterward adding and bruising the Tonka Beans; macerate for fourteen days in one-half of the spirit, with occasional agitation; pour off the clear liquor and set aside; pour the remaining spirits on the magma, and heat by means of a water bath to about 170° Fahrenheit, in a loosely covered vessel; keep it at that temperature for two or three hours, and strain through flannel with slight pressure; mix the two portions of liquid and filter through felt; add the syrup.

If a genuine Extract of Vanilla is desired, take of vanilla beans six ounces, omit the Tonka, and proceed as above.

This process so exhausts the beans that percolation is unnecessary.

Note - The above process does not produce a perfectly clear extract. One-half dram of carbonate of magnesia to each ounce; rub well and filter: will produce a clear preparation.

Here we have an Extract of Vanilla with Tonka, and truly "there is no accounting for tastes," as the old lady with the bovine possession, remarked.

We once knew a lady of widely reputed good judgment and fine taste, who preferred an extract of vanilla made from a combination of vanilla and tonka to one made from the vanilla alone. The latter sample we know to have been pure and of good quality.

To quote from the author of the foregoing formula: "I even forgot that tastes differ, and that all do not smell from the same standpoint; that some who use the extract largely prefer one made from the vanilla bean, while others would select a preparation containing a certain proportion of the Tonka; that the dislike of some persons to vanilla, in any form, might lead them to pronounce the best extract inferior."

Hence, we say there can be no accounting for tastes. Lack of judgment or perception, it may be, often has more to do with like or dislike in such matters than anything else.

Extract of Vanilla - Standard

Vanilla Beans ........................................................

3 ounces.

Tonka Beans.....................

6 ounces.

Sugar ............................................................................

.12 ounces.

Alcohol (middle run) ....................................

. 1 quart.

Water...........................

3 quarts.

Cut the Vanilla Beans, transversely, in small pieces and reduce to a fine powder, by placing in an iron mortar small quantities at a time, with two or three times the bulk of sugar; then reduce the Tonka beans to fine powder; mix well, pack firmly, without moistening, in a conical percolator; mix the liquids and percolate.

This formula represents a fair average of the respectable vanilla extracts of the market. We only state a fact, and will neither commend or condemn it.

Extract of Vanilla - without Vanilla

Tonka Beans.....................

10 ounces,

Prunes (freed from the seed)......

1 pound.

Raisins ............................................. .........................

4 ounces.

Currants ......................................................................

3 ounces

Orris Root (powdered) ..................................

4 ounces.

Balsam of Peru.....................................

3 ounces.

New Orleans Molasses............

1 quart.

Alcohol and water, of each sufficient.

Bruise the Tonka Beans and digest for two or three hours in a quart of hot water. Cut the fruits small, add the powdered Orris, and cover with a mixture of alcohol, five pints, and water, one gallon. To this add the Tonka, both beans and the liquid; macerate for ten days; add the Balsam Peru and Molasses, and filter; lastly add enough diluted alcohol to make the extract measure two and one-fourth gallons, and color with solution of caramel, if desired.

Now, of the various formulas we have known, this one would appear to outdo them all. It is not true to name in the least particular, nor could we ask for excuse for placing it here, save as a curiosity, and to show what a formula may be.

"A great deal of conscientious care must be used in the selection of volatile oils, that they be of the best quality and recently distilled"

Prof. Joseph Remington.