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Discount Vanilla Beans - Good Information


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#61 Patrick S

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 03:27 PM

The beans are alittle scrawny but, fragrant and they are working fine for my applications. Not a bad deal, when you are in business for yourself, every dollar counts so sometimes you cant buy the best of everything but I still like to come close.

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I understand completely! I went ahead and ordered some, and I'm looking forward to experimenting.
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#62 McAuliflower

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 07:15 PM

gulp

thanks to the eBay tip, I am the proud owner of 1 lb of 5-6" organic tahitian vanilla beans. $14.25! They arrived plump and almost waxy. I don't see any vanillin crystals on the beans. Also, several of the beans are smaller than 5 inches.

How does the bean length contribute to bean flavor?

looking for favorite vanilla extract methods...
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#63 CaliPoutine

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 07:46 PM

gulp

thanks to the eBay tip, I am the proud owner of 1 lb of 5-6" organic tahitian vanilla beans.  $14.25!  They arrived plump and almost waxy.  I don't see any vanillin crystals on the beans.  Also, several of the beans are smaller than 5 inches.

How does the bean length contribute to bean flavor? 

looking for favorite vanilla extract methods...

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I got my beans too. I thought there were smaller( even the supposed 6-7 inch length) and less plump than other beans Ive bought, but hey, the price is right. I'll just end up using 3 of these instead of 1 of another.

What did other think?

remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for" that certainly applied here.

#64 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 11:57 PM

I received mine last Tuesday. They were supposed to be 7" or longer, they are all about 7", not longer, but that doesn't bother me. I've never used vanilla beans before because of the expense so the only thing I have to compare with is what I see in vials at the grocery store. They are definitely plumper. There are no crystals and the flavour isn't strong but I'll have to try another brand in order to know how they compare. I've been using them more for looks and adding a bit of pure vanilla extract as well. :)
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#65 CaliPoutine

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:19 AM

I received mine last Tuesday. They were supposed to be 7" or longer, they are all about 7", not longer, but that doesn't bother me. I've never used vanilla beans before because of the expense so the only thing I have to compare with is what I see in vials at the grocery store. They are definitely plumper. There are no crystals and the flavour isn't strong but I'll have to try another brand in order to know how they compare. I've been using them more for looks and adding a bit of pure vanilla extract as well. :)

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Try making some of your own vanilla extract. I saw Chef at Home( Michael Smith) do it on an episode he did about vanilla. He took a large mason jar, split open( dont know if he split open, but I do) about 20 beans and then filled the jar with a little commerical extract for a starter and then topped with booze. I skipped the commerical extract part and just used some vodka. I also made a couple jars with bourbon for gifts. It takes a few months to cure. I used shmirnoff and i think that was too harsh. I'll stick with the bourbon from now on.

#66 Pam R

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 08:35 AM

I skipped the commerical extract part and just used some vodka.  I also made a couple jars with bourbon for gifts.  It takes a few months to cure.  I used shmirnoff and i think that was too harsh.  I'll stick with the bourbon from now on.

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me too... I've had a couple of beans is Vodka since about February (just enough Vodka to cover - though now that I see all of your links, I need to get more beans soon). I haven't checked it in a while - but it's turning into a recognizable form of extract. Smells good too.

When I was in university my prof had a bunch of jars going with different liquids - I used the vodka hoping that it would keep the vanilla flavour as pure as possible... but I can see where using a different type might be less harsh. But do you taste bourban or do you taste vanilla? Inquiring minds want to know.

Edited by Pam R, 13 September 2005 - 08:35 AM.


#67 CaliPoutine

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 08:48 AM

I skipped the commerical extract part and just used some vodka.  I also made a couple jars with bourbon for gifts.  It takes a few months to cure.  I used shmirnoff and i think that was too harsh.  I'll stick with the bourbon from now on.

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me too... I've had a couple of beans is Vodka since about February (just enough Vodka to cover - though now that I see all of your links, I need to get more beans soon). I haven't checked it in a while - but it's turning into a recognizable form of extract. Smells good too.

When I was in university my prof had a bunch of jars going with different liquids - I used the vodka hoping that it would keep the vanilla flavour as pure as possible... but I can see where using a different type might be less harsh. But do you taste bourban or do you taste vanilla? Inquiring minds want to know.

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I honestly cant stand the taste of hard liquor so Ive never tasted it. It just smells a lot less harsh. The alcohol is supposed to burn off anyway, right?

#68 Katie Nell

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:52 AM

Still wondering about the extract... (see my previous post) What are the differences between the different kinds and is one superior?
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#69 francois

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:13 AM

The most amazing vanilla beans I have seen come from Mariage freres (www.mariagefreres.com). Also the most expensive! But WOW, they are so huge and fragrant... I did not know it was possible for vanilla beans to become so big. In comparaison, ordinary vanilla beans look like matchsticks.

Try the vanille de tahiti (16 Euro for 2).

They certainly would make great conversation pieces if you find them too expensive to use!

BTW, their teas are also really good.

#70 Patrick S

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:37 AM

Still wondering about the extract... (see my previous post)  What are the differences between the different kinds and is one superior?

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This page gives some information on the various types of extracts. I think most commercial extracts are made from the species Vanilla planifolia (aka Bourbon vanilla), since the other common vanilla species, Vanilla tahitensis (aka Tahitian vanilla), has very little vanillan, which is the major flavor compound in vanilla. I'm sure differences in climate, curing and so on make even genetically identical vanilla plants taste subtely different (i.e. by encouraging or discouraging the formation of different flavor compounds), but I'm not in a position to say what those differences are or how apparent they are to the taste.
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#71 Katie Nell

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 11:14 AM

Thank you... very interesting! Does anyone have any preferences?

Still wondering about the extract... (see my previous post)  What are the differences between the different kinds and is one superior?

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This page gives some information on the various types of extracts. I think most commercial extracts are made from the species Vanilla planifolia (aka Bourbon vanilla), since the other common vanilla species, Vanilla tahitensis (aka Tahitian vanilla), has very little vanillan, which is the major flavor compound in vanilla. I'm sure differences in climate, curing and so on make even genetically identical vanilla plants taste subtely different (i.e. by encouraging or discouraging the formation of different flavor compounds), but I'm not in a position to say what those differences are or how apparent they are to the taste.

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"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

#72 bripastryguy

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 02:43 PM

I got my beans and ordered another pound. They werent the best but they will work just fine and the price was great. I use my beans, scape them, throw the pod in the application and then when done I dry them out on top of the oven them pulverize them in a spice grinder and there you have vanill apowder. I think we all know ways of salvaging every scrap
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#73 McAuliflower

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:36 PM

When I was in university my prof had a bunch of jars going with different liquids -  I used the vodka hoping that it would keep the vanilla flavour as pure as possible... but I can see where using a different type might be less harsh. 


Hrmmm... now I'm wondering about my everclear tincture I've got brewing! ;)

I've got a pint of vodka with 3 split beans steeping to be made into a liquer with vanilla simple syrup. I've also got a pint of bourbon with three split beans. Everyone's getting alcohol for christmas this year!

The everclear is 1 pint: 1 oz of snipped up beans. I plan on letting that steep for a month and then warm it up with honey and orange essence to form a syrup.

I forget how addictive steeping things in alcohol is! I'd love to play with medjool dates, and golden raspberries... :)
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#74 Woods

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 04:02 AM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

I was amazed at how cheap they are.  I did some seaching around and I found another site that sells the same amount for 75$

I'm hoping this wont be a case of caveat emptor.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

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I ordered some. They arrived quickly, are moist, and smell and taste fine. I will definintely reorder as this company makes the difference between using beans and not. Woods

#75 Patrick S

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 05:06 PM

My beans came in the mail. They look nice and have a nice aroma which is a little different from Bourbon beans. They are moist and fresh. I made a vanilla anglaise tonight to try the beans out. I used one and a half beans, about 10" worth of bean. With a Bourbon bean I would use half a bean and get a strong vanilla flavor. The flavor of the anglaise with Tahitian is not bad, but it really is very weak. I think the best way to use these is going to be in conjunction with extract to make up for the missing vanillin.

Edited by Patrick S, 15 September 2005 - 05:08 PM.

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#76 Sugarella

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:08 PM

Hi.... I'm new & this is my second post. :o)

Thanks for the info & I've enjoyed reading this thread, but wanted to ask about the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon paste a few of you mentioned earlier. I know some said it's sub-standard in flavour but how bad is it, or is it bad at all? I'm wondering if it'd be suitable in vanilla cake batter versus using the beans or will I lose a lot of taste? I suspect it's not good enough to use in a buttercream. Anyone with experience with the product?

#77 CaliPoutine

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:17 PM

Hi.... I'm new & this is my second post. :o)

Thanks for the info & I've enjoyed reading this thread, but wanted to ask about the  Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon paste a few of you mentioned earlier. I know some said it's sub-standard in flavour but how bad is it, or is it bad at all? I'm wondering if it'd be suitable in vanilla cake batter versus using the beans or will I lose a lot of taste? I suspect it's not good enough to use in a buttercream. Anyone with experience with the product?

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I have it, I use it, but the consistency is mucousy. I cant describe it any other way. I use it for the bean flecks( this was before I bought the whole whack of beans), and I supplement with vanilla.

#78 Patrick S

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 10:47 AM

Hi.... I'm new & this is my second post. :o)

Thanks for the info & I've enjoyed reading this thread, but wanted to ask about the  Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon paste a few of you mentioned earlier. I know some said it's sub-standard in flavour but how bad is it, or is it bad at all? I'm wondering if it'd be suitable in vanilla cake batter versus using the beans or will I lose a lot of taste? I suspect it's not good enough to use in a buttercream. Anyone with experience with the product?

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I used one bottle of NM vanilla paste. Flavor-wise, I thought the paste was no better or worse than extract. I used it in lots of different recipes with no problems.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#79 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 06:40 PM

Just bumping this up to let you know Organic Vanilla has bourbon beans up for auction now. I have been trying for a couple days to get either 20 beans or a 1/4lb for $7 USD + shipping with no success. Today I was given a "second chance" that wasn't on the e-bay site to buy the beans for the price I was bidding. I'm not sure if this is common with all sellers but I thought it was pretty nice of her. I'm looking forward to tasting the difference between the Tahitian and Bourbon.
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#80 mukki

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 12:43 PM

I'm looking forward to tasting the difference between the Tahitian and Bourbon.

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Please let us know the outcome. I just received my 1/2 lb. of Tahitian beans, but haven't used them yet. I noticed that in Pierre Herme's chocolate book, it says that he prefers Tahitian beans, which is interesting since I've had the impression that many appear to prefer the Bourbon.

#81 John DePaula

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:08 AM

I just bought some of the Planifolia (Bourbon) beans from Organic Vanilla Bean Co. They arrived quickly and were vacuum-packed (as promised) and plump. Once opened, they had a very strong, heady scent.

I used them in a passion-fruit/mango caramel and they completely overwhelmed it. I will have to be more careful to rebalance the recipe for beans of this strength; though I suspect it may be necessary to switch to the Tahitian variety for a more subtle (and pleasing) flavor.
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#82 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 11:49 AM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

I was amazed at how cheap they are.  I did some seaching around and I found another site that sells the same amount for 75$

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I just checked the site...beans are currently $13.75 for 1/4lb.

Edited by I_call_the_duck, 07 October 2005 - 11:50 AM.

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#83 eje

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:05 PM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

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BTW, I was surprised to discover the Saffron.com folks actually have a store front.

I was walking down Valencia last night and suddenly smelled vanilla very strongly. Quite a nice change from the usual San Francisco street smells, I can assure you! I looked up, saw the Saffron.com sign, and remembered this thread. When I first read about them, I had assumed they were mail order only; but, it looks like they have a retail space as well. Will have to get back some time during the day. I can't wait to be at the ground zero for that ambrosial nectar!
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#84 Beanie

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 07:16 PM

I am bumping this up to let everyone know that I just ordered 1/4 lb. tahitian vanilla beans from saffron.com for $15.95, shipping included. For a minimum order of $21.95, they will include 5 free beans and a bar of soap (vanilla or saffron.) I've never tried their beans, but recently purchased an ounce of saffron that is the best I've ever used; that order included free vanilla extract and a bar of saffron soap. I love this company.
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#85 GTO

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:15 PM

The pastry section seemed the most appropriate place to share a fantastic site I found, detailing one of the cook's best friends, Vanilla.

It has some background on Vanilla, from the bean to grounds, flavourings and essences, along with some recipes.

I just thought you might want to have a look, it's always very humbling to explore in detail, an ingredient such as Vanilla, which is so often used but seldom looked at closely.
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#86 alanamoana

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 02:38 PM

thanks for the link GTO.

the "vanilla queen" is a close friend of two colleagues. i have heard only good things about her.

#87 GTO

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 03:33 PM

That's such a useful contact.

I was aware that vanilla had a few savoury applications but wow, not as many as I've seen on there.

Edited by GTO, 03 January 2007 - 03:35 PM.

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