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Trader Joe's MIA: Vanilla extract

toodie jane Oct 3, 2006 02:46 AM

They moved everything in my local store around, including the spices. They now are a small section near the packaged flour and baking mixes, which actually makes sense. But no more pure vanilla extract!

Now it's just a very small bottle--2 oz?--and it is 'vanilla flavoring' in glycerine, with other bizarre ingredients too. The label tours it as "non-alcohol". Am I suppposed to be overjoyed?

Anyone out there still getting real vanilla extract at their TJ's?

Anyone know anything about this glycerine-based 'flavoring'?

I'm headed to Cost Plus tomorrow to see if they have any deals on good vanilla.

I'd appreciate any comments.

  1. b
    bunkersmith Feb 9, 2008 02:43 PM

    Ran across this thread because I'm a very newly sober alcoholic and AA member, and I obviously can't have a vanilla extract with any alcohol in it. I see the consensus is that TJ's artificial stuff is nasty. Are there any other artificial extracts out there that are good or even reasonable? I know that I'll have to give up some on taste - I just don't want to give up on ever eating another chocolate chip cookie!

    3 Replies
    1. re: bunkersmith
      hummingbird Feb 9, 2008 04:57 PM

      First, congratulations.

      Could you just use vanilla beans in your cookies?

      1. re: bunkersmith
        lisa13 Feb 9, 2008 05:32 PM

        I am not sure of what guidelines you are following in your recovery, but for what its worth, if you are baking with an alcohol based traditional extract, all of the alcohol should evaporate out in the cooking process.

        1. re: bunkersmith
          nc213 Feb 12, 2008 07:39 AM

          you might want to try asking on the home cooking board about making vanilla sugar (from the beans rather than extract) i've never tried, but it's supposed to be fairly easy and may solve your extract problem.

        2. c
          CulinaryKate Oct 19, 2006 10:26 PM

          TJ's vanilla was unavailable for a while, but it should be back for good (unless they get another late shipment). I 'm fairly certain they wouldn't discontinue such a prized possession (and if they did, we'd rebolt!)

          1. Kitchen Imp Oct 10, 2006 01:54 AM

            Good news! The vanilla extract made with alcohol is back in my local Trader Joe's (SF Bay Area). It's the bourbon, not the Tahitian -- which I know some people prefer -- but nevertheless a non-glycerine vanilla is back on the shelves.

            1. r
              rainey Oct 4, 2006 01:49 PM

              Are you talking about vanilla paste? If it's vanilla seeds in a glycerine medium I think it's fantastic. I buy the Nielsen-Massey vanilla paste but if it's at TJs now with their label I will definitely be looking for it.

              You might want to give it a chance.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rainey
                Pat Hammond Oct 4, 2006 06:01 PM

                I think this stuff is different from the vanilla paste. It's called Cookbook Vanilla (alcohol free). The vanilla flavor is from "extractives", whatever they are. I seem to remember buying some vanilla paste for my daughter because I'd heard it was good. This other product is not.

                1. re: rainey
                  LT from LF Oct 4, 2006 09:34 PM

                  It's not the same thing. It's an alcohol free flavoring for the sensitive. No other reason to use it.

                2. p
                  Procrastibaker Oct 3, 2006 08:13 PM

                  OK, now I'm annoyed too. We don't have a local TJ but I visited one several hours away a while back and bought some fantastic vanilla extract. I ran out but had a chance to go to another TJ's a couple of weeks ago and blithely picked up a bottle. It's the glycerin stuff! I didn't even notice. I am not going to open it and will try to return it. Thanks for the heads up!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Procrastibaker
                    Kitchen Imp Oct 4, 2006 03:04 AM

                    It shouldn't be a problem to return it at all. Trader Joe's has an amazing return policy. I recently had a whole TJs chicken go bad in the fridge before the pull date. I called and they said I didn't need to bring in the whole chicken (it smelled bad when I opened the package, so I tossed it) -- I didn't even need to bring in the receipt, just the tag with the price on it. When I got to the store I couldn't find the tag at first (it was buried in my purse) and the clerk said, "Oh, don't worry about it, I'll just scan the tag from one of the chickens in the case." A full refund with no chicken, no price tag, no receipt -- now THAT'S customer service! As it happened I did find the tag just before she was about to go get a chicken, but wow, was I impressed. The one other time I've needed to return something they were equally helpful and friendly about it.

                    1. re: Kitchen Imp
                      Procrastibaker Oct 4, 2006 01:41 PM

                      Good. I have never tried to return something to them so it's nice to know they're gracious about it before I make the trip (we don't have a TJ nearby, so I usually fit in a visit when I'm near DC). Thanks!

                      1. re: Kitchen Imp
                        ChowFun_derek Oct 4, 2006 09:17 PM

                        That was my experience ...chicken-wise ...as well! It would be great if others' would follow suit...I have great loyalty now!

                    2. Pat Hammond Oct 3, 2006 04:58 PM

                      Just spoke with the Larchmont T.J.s. They have vanilla extract that's 35% alcohol, plus that alcohol-free version, which I agree is yucky. I haven't seen it for myself, but that's what I was told. The missing Grade B maple syrup is sad news.

                      1. Kitchen Imp Oct 3, 2006 05:46 AM

                        Yes, same problem at my local TJs -- no more vanilla extract for months now. It's vanished.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Kitchen Imp
                          JMF Oct 3, 2006 01:52 PM

                          Same problem in my Westchester, NY TJ's no real vanilla and NO MORE Grade B Maple Syrup. I really hate my local TJ's!

                          1. re: JMF
                            LindaWhit Oct 3, 2006 05:02 PM

                            I usually buy Penzey's or Nielsen-Massey vanilla (if I haven't made it myself) but I was PISSED to read no more Grade B maple syrup! That is just sacrilege!!!

                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              JMF Oct 3, 2006 05:56 PM

                              It was Nielsen-Massey that I used to get at TJ's, otherwise I use Penzeys double strength.

                            2. re: JMF
                              Das Ubergeek Oct 4, 2006 06:18 PM

                              I can still get Grade B maple syrup at my Studio City Trader Joe's.

                          2. l
                            LisaAZ Oct 3, 2006 03:18 AM

                            ooooooh, I have the glycerine based stuff.
                            Who on earth would think alcohol free would be something to crow about?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LisaAZ
                              LT from LF Oct 4, 2006 09:32 PM

                              Some people are so alcohol-sensitive that they can't tolerate the extract. However, I would never buy the glycerin stuff at TJ's. It's got weird ingredients, as I recall.

                            2. chica Oct 3, 2006 02:51 AM

                              TJs is always terminating products without warning. That's why a shopper learns to stock up. :)

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