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Well be prepared to fork over alot more money for a bottle of the pure stuff. I read in the paper just the other day about why ice cream parlors are going to start raising prices. First, it's the cost of the milk. Then, due to where the vanilla beans are grown (Madagascar), well they've been hit by a series of cyclones and had all but wiped out the vanilla crop. Also, cocoa is going up due to farmers leaving their crops due to civil unrest in the Ivory Coast.

Anyway, picked up a bottle of the pure vanilla extract at BJ's,.....$19.97!! Before it was maybe $9, if that. In the article, it stated that a gallon of the vanilla that was costing $75 dollars is now up to $400-$800 a gallon. And I thought milk and gasoline was expensive!
 

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I read about the shortage a few months ago in Cook's Magazine. They did a taste test of many pure and artificial vanillas, and they found that many experts chose a few of the artificial ones over the genuine stuff. They also said that price fluctuations are not unheardof, and that as the supply recovers from the market games that have caused the shortage, the price will go down.
 
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Didn't CokaCola about collapse their ecconomy when they did the brief switch from Coke to that new-improved Coke a decade or so ago?

As to the milk prices, get the USA govt to end the rediculous milk pricing structure. It is causing dairies in the midwest to go broke, while new ones at big $$$ are being built in California & Florida - at quite a cost to you the consumer.
 

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the pure vanilla extract is still cheap over in the border cities of mexico, as a matter of fact the retirees that spend the winters here justbuy large quanities of the stuff before going home. the price and the flavor is the kicker, both are as the late justin wilson used to say just sooo goood.
 

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Here's a recipe for homemade vanilla if anyone is interested. The ingredients are a bit expensive, but it lasts a lot longer than a 2 oz. bottle. I made a batch several years ago and just keep adding the brandy (from the original bottle).

3 or 4 vanilla beans (I found these at Kitchen's Etc. and they were about $4 for 3 beans)

1/2 cup brandy

1. Chop vanilla beans into small pieces, being careful not to lose any of the bean or the little black seeds.

2. Drop the pieces into a clean jar and cover with brandy. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep in a dark place, shaking every third day or so. (I used a 1/2 pint jelly jar.)

3. Extract will be ready in about 2 weeks. A touch more brandy can be added if the beans still seem potent. Mixture can be added to indefinitely.

Use this just as you would regular vanilla extract.

This recipe comes from Nancy Birnes book "Cheaper & Better". It is out of print but if you can find it somewhere, buy it. It has hundreds of recipes for store-bought stuff that you can easily make at home.
 

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yes mexican vanilla extract is great if u can find some. i used to buy it at the albuquerque flea market. a good-sized bottle set me back about five bucks. it might be worth trying at a mexican-foods market if there's one in your nearest big-town.
 
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Thanks for the warning about vanilla extract and the name of the book by Nancy Birnes. I've just made an inter-library loan request for it. I noticed Costco in Edmonton has upped their price as well as switched to smaller bottles, but that's been awhile ago already. I'll be on the alert for vanilla beans or pure vanilla that's within my budget.
 

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Only use pure grain or corn alcohol as in Vodka to make your extract. Brandy will over power the vanilla flavors.

Use dark bottles, never clear ones to store and stew your extract. Store in cool dark place.

All extract has LOTS of alcohol in them, it's what extracts and holds the essents and flavors of the bean. The alcohol cooks out when baked or boiled.

Vanilla sugar is really good also. Just place a split bean in some sugar, cover and let rest for a week to a month. The sugar will take on a hint of the vanilla.

I make a gallon at a time. I only use the madascar beans since the Tahitian and some Mexican varieties are really sub standard in tast and quality. They are not held to the same standards for quality and consistancy as the Madascar producers are. They are known to mix thier cut beans with imitation fillers - YUK.

"Mexico has no truth in labeling regulations or any organization like our FDA. Many times the vanilla will contain artificial flavors or enhancers, such as Coumarin, which is carcinogenic product that has been outlawed by the FDA for the last 30 to 40 years. If manufactured correctly, under the proper guidelines, it is considered to be a high quality vanilla. " - Nelson Massey

I got an old oak pony keg a long long time ago. I stew the brew in a copper kettle, do it again, then age in the oak barrel for 4 weeks.
de-freekin-licious. Cant keep any around as friends and family snatch it up before it's finished. Pondering upping the quantity for sale but I cant find another pony keg.
 
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