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ChocMD

The Horror of Sourcing Decent Vanilla Extract

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Hi folks, I have finally run out of my jug of carefully hoarded Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract from about 2015 or so. Maybe 2014. Now I don't know where to look for a replacement. I am disturbed by the reports coming out of Madagascar regarding beans being harvested green and vacuum-packed, which collapses the flavor profile (in addition to being illegal in Madagascar, but there's money to be made and it's not really enforced, apparently). So beans are purchased (or stolen) green, minimally cured, and vacuum packed. Apparently when the beans are vacuum-packed for later curing you can also get a moldy (!) flavor.

 

There are Nielsen-Massey 32 oz. bottles for sale on Amazon.com that are apparently knock-offs. I hope. Because if they're not it implies disturbing things about NM's buying policies. The NM sold on King Arthur Flour website has gotten some bad reviews for flavor lately also. Pretty much everyone in the industry is keeping mighty quiet about this.

 

But there's such a shortage anyway that we're all buying them despite the horrific prices. Does anyone have a decent brand that they've found to have consistently reliable flavor recently? Obviously I am not looking for supermarket vanilla.

 

Here's an article: https://vanillaqueen.com/will-2016-vanilla-crop-see-easing-prices/

That references another article: https://mg.co.za/article/2018-03-16-00-vanilla-fever-fear-sours-the-sweet-scent-of-madagascars-success

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I've had decent results with Costco's vanilla, but my favorite for the company is stuff that a friend brings back from Mexico when she travels there. Mind you, last year's horror show of a crop meant that the beans were terribly small and hard, compared to the ones she's bought me the year before. But their extract is worth every penny and she gets a decent deal by buying me big bottles that last forever.  😕 Not sure that will help you tho. 

 

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Do you know what kind of extract your friend gets in Mexico? I'll be going there in about a week and am prepared to stock up if there's anything good available. Years ago I bought some vanilla on a trip to Mexico that was just awful, so I know it's not always easy to find the good stuff.

 


Edited by Nyleve Baar (log)

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5 hours ago, Nyleve Baar said:

Do you know what kind of extract your friend gets in Mexico? I'll be going there in about a week and am prepared to stock up if there's anything good available. Years ago I bought some vanilla on a trip to Mexico that was just awful, so I know it's not always easy to find the good stuff.

 

 

Here are pictures of the bottles. The semi-clear is perfect fine, unless you really need a true white and it's seriously less expensive. 

 

IMG_20181021_102058667.jpg


Edited by Sweet Impact Mama duplicated pictures. (log)

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I agree that Penzey's has some excellent vanilla and they carry several varieties.

 

But, ultimately, making your own is the best solution. One of the best places to get b-grade beans is eBay. The price is high this year, but, fresh beans will provide extract for years.


Edited by Lisa Shock (log)
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Thank you all for your very informative replies. I went with Penzey's as I have had good luck with them in the past. Special thanks to Toliver who opened my eyes to the astonishing *eighteen* pages of do-it-yourself-vanilla enlightenment. Going to try that for the long-term supplies, if I can find any decent beans that aren't $8/bean. Will look on eBay, thank you Lisa.

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7 hours ago, Sweet Impact Mama said:

Here are pictures of the bottles. The semi-clear is perfect fine, unless you really need a true white and it's seriously less expensive. 

 

IMG_20181021_102058667.jpg

 

Thanks! I will look for these. Don't need or want clear - just fine with murky brown.

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