The vanilla scent in your food and perfume might come from a beaver’s butt

I’d actually heard that beaver butt juice made artificial strawberry flavor as well. I make my own vanilla extract by cutting in half a few vanilla beans and will the container with vodka and anytime I have a “used” Vanilla pod I through it in – easy and it doesn’t require anal sex with a beaver to get 😉


The next time you get a whiff of a freshly baked cupcake, just know that it came out of a beaver’s ass. Not the cupcake itself (show me that beaver and I will MAKE IT MY KING), but the fragrance — it’s what beavers use to claim their territory.

According to Time, castoreum is “a fragrant, brown slime that comes from a beaver’s castor sacs” and has been used widely in food and perfume for nearly a century. It’s in everything from booze and baked goods to pudding, candy, gum, and ice cream. (Although take heart: Not everything that smells like vanilla contains castoreum. Our total consumption is only about 250 pounds annually. Two hundred fifty pounds of delicious beaver buttock juice.)

It gets better:

Because of its close proximity to the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine…

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About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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