Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 17, 2011 12:51 PM

Am I the only one who didn't know...

... how great eBay is for finding expensive ingredients that aren't expensive?

I just ordered a dozen Tahitian vanilla beans for $2.75. With shipping, it came out to less than $5. For a dozen of the suckers. The grocery store sells vanilla beans for $10/package. And only 2 or 3 beans are included in a package. Granted, those are Madagascar beans, but I've always wanted to try the Tahitian ones.

I nearly bought a bag of pink salt as well, but didn't want to go too crazy.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have bought vanilla beans on eBay in the past. Probably the same seller. I got something like 1 pound for 19.99 from some organic trade company in Tahiti. They are fantastic! Took me about 3 months to get through the 1 pound, and I immediately ordered more.

    You will not be disappointed!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Novelli

      I think this seller was based in the US, so it's probably not the same one, but it's good to know that cheap eBay vanilla beans can be great! On the off chance that I am disappointed (although I doubt I will be), I will look for your organic Tahitian trade company.

    2. No, I did not know this--those beans are 2.50 each at my local market. Link? Or will it be easy to find?

      3 Replies
      1. re: loraxc

        These are the ones I bought:

        The seller also sells these, and other varieties, by the pound and 1/2 pound.

          1. re: loraxc

            Isn't it exciting? I've already bookmarked a recipe for Tahitian vanilla creme brulee. And they probably won't arrive for a few more days.

      2. Yes, I buy a lot of "expensive" ingredients on Amazon or Ebay - dried porcinis, for example, can be had for like $35 a pound instead of $5 an ounce at the grocery store. Spices are also often a great deal on Amazon as long as you don't mind getting a fairly large quantity. BTW, JR Mushrooms (the seller of my beloved dried porcinis) also sells Madagascar vanilla beans which are EXCELLENT - $10 for 16 beans, or $17 for a quarter pound (about 27 beans according to them).

        1. I did not know that - will go search and see if they have similarly good opportunitites. My main ebay obsession has up until now been le creuset focused but would love to branch out =)

          1. Update: My vanilla beans arrived today. They're very fresh and smell amazing. Bright and fruity. I took them out of the package to count and inspect and now my hands smell like vanilla. I'm not complaining. I can't wait to make something with them!

            Let us know when yours come, loraxc. If the seller's beans are consistently good, I can see myself ordering quite a few from them. Did anyone else look at the whole store on eBay? It's... interesting. They seem to specialize in vanilla beans and dishwasher parts.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

              It's like the lemon in the garbage disposal - a vanilla bean in your utensil caddy will make your dishwasher smell so delightful....just kidding!