While women everywhere would kill for a beaver that smells like vanilla, actual beavers (as in the animal, not the vagina) have butts that smell like vanilla… And we’re not talking about beavers’ butts having a smell that resembles vanilla – we’re talking about the food service industry using actual beaver butt secretions to bring you that vanilla extract you use for all your baked goods.
Apparently, beavers’ anal glands secrete something called castoreum. In nature, beavers use castoreum to mark their territories. In the kitchen, you use it to add flavor to your sugar cookies. Thanks, U.S. FDA, for determining that an animals’ anal secretion can double as a cake ingredient. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Jell-O comes from horse hooves… (wait, what?)
So, next time you see a beaver, don’t hesitate to pick it up, lift its tail and take a big, long whiff. Everyone around you will definitely stop being horrified when you exclaim, “smells like vanilla! I swear!” Know more.