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Aug 26, 2009 11:10 AM

Tahitian Vanilla Beans

Anyone know of a local source?

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  1. TJ's, Whole Paycheck and Wiliams Sonoma.

    1. Arax in Watertown recently had em for 5-6 for $5 and they were fresh and excellent.

      3 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        Ooohhh good to know! I need them for a beer I am making.

        While I think of it, Penzey's Spice in Arlington (corner of Park Ave and Mass Ave.) might have them, too. And definetly give Formaggio Kitchen on Huron Ave in Cambridge a call too.

        1. re: Stellar D

          According to their website, Penzey's has Mexican and Madagascan vanilla beans, but not Tahitian.

        2. re: StriperGuy

          Thanks for posting - I got four beans today for $4.99 at Arax - a great deal!

        3. Order them online. Much, much cheaper.

          1. Thanks all. Checked TJs: no luck; Whole Foods had Indonesian Vanilla Beans for $12.99; went to Arax in Watertown and found Tahitian for only $4.99.

            1 Reply
            1. It's not a local source, but I found this company on eBay (no association w/them, btw) and was really pleased with my order (one - enough to last me awhile). I got a combo order of both bourbon and tahitian beans:


              I absolutely love vanilla. I've used a bit of one of the beans (forgot which) already, and am waiting for my homemade extract to be ready.

              7 Replies
              1. re: threedogs

                If you don't mind revealing your recipe, how do you make vanilla extract? What type of alcohol do you use? Is the homemade extract better than store bought?

                1. re: amy_wong

                  I just made some myself:

                  6 oz jar of cruzan dark rum (some folks use whisky, you could even use vodka. Just don't want anything too strong tasting i.e. single malt scotch or say Meyers rum.)
                  3 tahitian vanilla beans

                  Split beans down middle. Scoop out goo. Add goo and empty beans to rum. Shake well. Let sit for 3 weeks. It's cool as it gets darker and darker as the vanilla diffuses out into the rum.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Nice. I'll try this since the good quality store bought extract is pretty expensive. I may try with Everclear since I'll be attempting to make limoncello as well. On the other hand, I'm not even sure Everclear is available here in MA.

                    1. re: amy_wong

                      Can't get Everclear here. CT for sure. NH used to sell it, but think they made it harder to get in the state owned stores.

                      The vanilla extract was so fragrant and vanilla perfumed, way better than the best vanilla extract I have ever found in a bottle.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Thanks for the information. I'll try making the vanilla extract with Cruzan rum and postpone the limoncello. I want the highest alcohol content (i.e., 190 proof) for the latter.

                    2. re: StriperGuy

                      That's basically how I make mine. Hadn't made any for ages - this time I split the beans length wise and then into about thirds so the alcohol (I used rum this time, too - before I've used brandy) would cover the pieces entirely. Started w/a full bottle of Dominican Rum (cheapest I could find), dark. Used some for biscotti, some for a tweaked version of a sort of fruit tiramisu I make (this was for my kind landlord - I'm not above bribery!! ;-)

                      So I ended up with about a quarter of the bottle (guess it's a liter bottle, or close to that). I used (I think) about 5 or 6 vanilla beans, and when I get a chance, I'll get some more rum and add to it.

                      The longer it sits, the better the extract turns out. I really need a full bottle, because it ends up tasting better than anything I could buy in the stores... makes a very, very tasty drink, too. Believe me - this doesn't last...

                      1. re: threedogs

                        Sounds good enough to drink on its own. I think rum is the way to go, seems to go with the flavor of vanilla well. I love bourbon too, but I think it may taste too strong and overwhelm the vanilla easily.