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Spices & Seasonings/Question About Vanilla Beans


Hi Marc,

Quick question here:  Do you know of any way I could procure vanilla beans for a price that won't bankrupt me?  I keep on searching for vanilla beans and the only kind I can find are the jarred kind where just two vanilla beans cost $8.95, which means if I encounter a recipe that calls for them, I can't make that dish because I can't afford them.  I also have the problem where I don't have any of the major supermarket chains (such as Kroger or Albertson's) nearby, nor do I have a Trader Joe's in my city.  If you could answer that question, that would be wonderful, as well as answer why vanilla beans are more expensive than even saffron (I've been able to find saffron at a slightly lower cost than vanilla beans, and it appears as though it's enough for up to four different dishes).



Vanilla Beans are only successfully grown in a few places and they take a very very long

time to mature to the point of harvesting, ergo the very high price of the utterly delightful bean.

I suggest that you request a free catalogue from "Penzeys Spices".

Their quality is unparalleled.  Their customer service via telephone is excellent.

They offer "freebies" to those who receive their monthly catalogue.

Back to your question -- What I do to cope with the price of Vanilla is to substitute

Natural Vanilla Extract from a reliable retailer.

It is the only solution.

Artificial flavoring containing "VANILLIN" is NOT acceptable.

See these links.



2 ounce bottles will last longer than you think.

Always keep stored in a refrigerator.

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Marc Gray


I have broad expertise re: spices, herbs, seasonings, condiments in various international cuisines.


I have studied this subject for many years. A gourmet cook, one of my specialties is preparing spice mixes, flavored oils and vinegars, etc. etc.

I am currently involved in answering questions here on all re: Indian Cuisine.

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