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Vanilla Beans


cjsadler
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Has anyone ordered them online? The prices from a lot of the companies are astoundingly cheap. We're talkin' about 50 beans (1/2 lb) of Grade A Tahitian for $16.50 delivered :mellow:

And a follow on questions. How long would they last? What is the best way to store them?

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Has anyone ordered them online? The prices from a lot of the companies are astoundingly cheap. We're talkin' about 50 beans (1/2 lb) of Grade A Tahitian for $16.50 delivered :mellow:

Wow, I thought that 10 beans for $11 at Costco was cheap! They're from Papua, New Guinea and I have no idea if that's good or bad :)

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We order Grade A Tahitian Vanilla Beans fron the Organic Vanilla Bean Company (they sell online). The quality is quite good for the price. We are mainly steeping them in cream, so if the beans are a bit dry it is not a big deal. As far as storage, we store them tightly wrapped in an airtight container at room temperature (well our room temp is 64 degrees), but they do not need to be refrigerated. Go for it, they are much better quality than Whole Foods, Costco, Harris Teeter, etc....

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Somewhat related to this... I just found a lonely forgotten Madagascar vanilla bean in the pantry. It is completely dessicated -- is there any way to refresh it? Steaming? Gentle microwaving wrapped in a damp towel? Steeping it in some vodka to make extract? Ideas?

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Somewhat related to this... I just found a lonely forgotten Madagascar vanilla bean in the pantry. It is completely dessicated -- is there any way to refresh it? Steaming? Gentle microwaving wrapped in a damp towel? Steeping it in some vodka to make extract? Ideas?
I had a couple of beans like that and just enough vodka in the bottom of an ancient bottle to hold them when cut in half. It made fantastic extract. I'd never tried it before and was amazed.
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Somewhat related to this... I just found a lonely forgotten Madagascar vanilla bean in the pantry. It is completely dessicated -- is there any way to refresh it? Steaming? Gentle microwaving wrapped in a damp towel? Steeping it in some vodka to make extract? Ideas?
I just tried a method for refreshing a vanilla bean that I had read about. The suggestion was to microwave the bean in some cream until the bean was softened (the flavored cream can then be used for something too). I only had milk. It did work to make the bean pliable enough to get the seeds out.
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Has anyone ordered them online? The prices from a lot of the companies are astoundingly cheap. We're talkin' 50 beans (1/2 lb) of Grade A Tahitian for $16.50 delivered :mellow:

You can also get the very best quality vanilla beans from Surfas at a very good price--they are suppliers to high-end chefs in Los Angeles. I've bought them on-site, but they are also available online. www.surfas.com

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Has anyone ordered them online? The prices from a lot of the companies are astoundingly cheap. We're talkin' 50 beans (1/2 lb) of Grade A Tahitian for $16.50 delivered :mellow:

I've ordered from them. I forget the quantity I ordered, but I ended up with more then I expected. I have batches of both vodka and rum vanilla extract in the pantry, vanilla salt, and vanilla sugar. I've experimented with savory recipes too -- a vanilla brine for pork that was very tasty. I still gave a lot away not knowing how they'd keep but, wrapped well in a cool, dark corner of the pantry they held up fine for months.

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I store my vanilla beans in a jar filled with vodka. The beans become easy to use by cutting off the end and squeezing out the insides and the liquid makes a wonderful extract. They've stored perfectly in this manner for many years; I just add more beans or vodka when it gets low - making sure to never let it run too low or else the extract will be too diluted for a few months.

About six or seven years ago, I gave such jars to many of my friends and family, and most are still in use.

I think that I learned this from a barefoot contessa book.

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Dayum, those are good prices. I was planning to buy some at Costco but became too gunshy after Cjsadler's post about their poor quality.

Now that I have a half-pound of beans coming my way, does anybody have recommendations for how to use them? I remember making an awesome vanilla bean cake once, but I lost the recipe. I'm planning to make some vanilla pudding and some ice cream and also get a batch of vanilla sugar working. With that many beans in the house, though, I'm definitely open to suggestions for other uses.

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My beans from the Organic Vanilla Bean Company arrived-- got a 1/4 lb each of both Tahitian and Bourbon. Based purely on aroma, I'd put these somewhere between the Costco beans and Penzeys. These beans have a stronger vanilla smell than the Costco beans, but the Bourbon ones have a sorta raisin-y undertone to them that isn't entirely pleasant. Clearly, you get what you pay for and the Penzeys "true" beans are much better. Apparently the cheaper beans come from New Guinea where a different curing process is used. I think the question to ask is "Are these cheap beans better than using a good extract?". I'm not sure yet. Speaking of extract, I'll probably use some of these beans to try making my own and see how it comes out. For a vanilla dessert you really want to do right, I'd say it's still worth splurging on the Penzeys beans (which are about $2/bean).

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Just a note for anybody ordering from the Organic Vanilla Bean Company: if you pay via PayPal, they may ship to your PayPal address regardless of what address you gave the company when filling out the order form online. Therefore, make sure your PayPal address is accurate before ordering from them. Apparently somebody in Takoma Park got real lucky with a free half-pound of vanilla beans while I'm sitting here in WV wondering where the hell they went.

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Has anyone spotted vanilla beans in Trader Joe's recently? I have bought them at TJs before (convenient and the price was right), but the last couple of times in the Foggy Bottom and Bethesda stores I couldn't find any.

Rodman's was out, no time for mail order, and I want to make vanilla ice cream for dessert on Christmas.... I suppose Whole Foods might have them for $150 or something. :angry:

Try Penzey's, either Rockville or Falls Church. They have Mexican and Madagascar on tap.

Or ovary.

Whatever.

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