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Madagascar Vanilla Bean

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I’m just wondering what a fare price would be for them. My mother told me to go to Penseys but they seem too pricey to me. Maybe not, what do I know
post #2 of 8
They run between $50 and $60/lb retail. The best online deal on vanilla (not from Madagascar) is here: Vanilla Beans Order Page

BDL
post #3 of 8
Can I ask why you are specifying Madagascar?

Madagascan vanilla (often marketed, unfairly, as "Madagascar Bourbon") is the second best vanilla in the world---and is priced accordingly.

The number one vanilla producer is Mexico. Shooting from the hip, I'd say 80% or more of the culinary supply comes from there. Tahiti also is a major player. A couple of other places also produce it for the world trade.

Vanilla orchids aren't particularly rare. Heck, the stuff grows wild in Florida.

But, unless you really need what is generally recognized as the very best, I would go with a lesser breed than the Madagascar. The link BDL provided really is a great deal, and I'd consider purchasing it there.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for your help.

One last question. How long can you store vanilla beans and what is the best way to keep them?
post #5 of 8
Authority is split. Either store in a non-airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months, or store in an airtight container, in a cool dark place for up to two years. I favor the second method and have used it successfully for 18 months.

Another method is to make a few fifths of extract in various types of booze. We have one rum and one cognac going now. That's a lot of extract. If you want a plain vodka-type extract, I'd say just skip it and buy the extract from Saffron. Great prices, great quality. What more can you ask?

BDL
post #6 of 8
If I am remembering right, Madagascar is by far the largest producer, at least as of 2004. Had to do a large research project on it my first quarter of culinary school. If i'm remembering wrong, well, it was a very busy quarter ;)

Also, labeling one the best would have to be a little subjective, as they all have slightly different flavors.
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
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Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
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post #7 of 8
If we're talking just the volume of whole beans, you may be right about Madagascar. But if you look at all forms: beans, powder, extract, I believe Mexico comes in first.

>labeling one the best would have to be a little subjective<

Absolutely true. So the best (sorry) we can do is go with the consensus of culinary authorities and pastry chefs.

Among that group, the best generally available vanilla comes from Madagascar.

The actual best, for those who've been able to obtain it, comes from Reunion, an island about 500 miles east of Madagascar. It used to be known as Isle Bourbon, which is why "bourbon" attached to vanilla connotes high quality for many people.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 8
It has always amused me how many people also think this has to do with the alcohol it was made with ;)
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
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Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
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