What To Look For When Purchasing Extracts A quality extract can make the difference between pastries, pies, cookies, ice creams being just mediocre or first rate. With so many extracts available for the serious cook, what should one look for when purchasing an extract? The first rule of thumb is to carefully scrutinize the ingredient list. Quality extracts should contain all natural ingredients and no chemicals or artificial flavorings. Take vanilla extract for example. A quality vanilla extract should contain all-natural ingredients such as vanilla extractives, alcohol and water. Caramel is also frequently used for color enhancement. But, this too is a natural product. All too often manufacturers will use artificial vanilla flavoring and sugar or glucose to enhance the flavor profile. Stay away from these.