What is Vegetable Extract?

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Heather says:

This question is specifically for my UK readers, or maybe they have it in AUS or NZ. What is vegetable extract?

Is it broth, base, or bouillon? Or is it something completely different?

I found an old recipe from the rationing years called for a teaspoon of vegetable extract. A brief search on Google only yielded others asking the same question or what looked like healthy food additives.


Take 1Ib each of diced potatoes, cauliflower, swedes and carrots;
Three or Four spring onions;
One teaspoonful of vegetable extract and
One teaspoonful of oatmeal.


Cook all together for ten minutes with just enough water to cover.
Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.
Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with a crust of potatoes or wholemeal pastry.
Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely brown and serve hot with brown gravy.

via The Carrot Museum

I thought it might make an interesting side dish to riff on without the pie crust.

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11 thoughts on “What is Vegetable Extract?”

  1. Well, "Promite" is called vegetable extract spread. http://www.everythingaustralian.com/noname206.htm… It's a knock-off marmite/vegemite thing, but less based on byproducts of the brewing industry.

    I would have guessed it's one of the -mites… I do know that around here back in the day, a spoonful of marmite or vegemite used to go often into gravies etc as a seasoning. These days we're more likely to add a squirt of soya sauce for the salty-tasty-darkening effect. Mum used to cook a nut loaf that had a marmite gravy.

    This recipe here used marmite for vege extract in a vegetarian soup. http://www.veggienumnum.com/2010/03/veggie-noodle

    But seriously, unless you actually like the taste of marmite, add a bit of soy and a bit of sugar and be done with it!
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  2. I asked Bill, who at 63 is almost old enough to remember… He believes this is referring to products like Marmite and Vegemite. They are technically yeast extract but not yeast on their own. I have had a taste of Vegemite and my main impression was that it is SALTY. I think these products are more about B vitamins than anything else and vitamin deficiency will have been a concern during rationing days. Suspect you could add a pinch of salt to your recipe and it would be fine. More here about Marmite:
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  3. Funny, I reposted this and thought the brits would reply but in the end got a reply from a friend in the US. Her reply below:

    "I know, I know, I know. Vegetable extract can be found in powder form or in a spread. It is a highly concentrated form of mixed veggies and is full of antioxidents. It is most commonly used in Australia and in Asian cooking. You can probably find it in a Chinese market. Do I win something? LOL"


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