In a store where the term "bulk" usually implies 50+ pounds of an item (does anyone really need that many canned peaches?), we stumbled upon two test tube shaped packages of awesomeness! In them were 10 vanilla beans. There they sat, staring back at us from the shelf as if to say, "Hey pretty lady, come here often?" You'd have a cheesy pick up line too if you were a long seductively priced vanilla bean...
After some quick googling upon returning home, we discovered that other stores across the country have been carrying this product for awhile, so our apologies to those who have been there, done that and bought the tshirt already.
But for most Costco stores across the country, this is a new push and dare we say a fantastic one. The two vials, containing 5 long thick pods, were retailing for a small price of $11.99. For the average at home baker, even in specialty grocers, vanilla bean pods are roughly $4 for two, smaller, thinner and less attractive ones.
We had a sudden flood of recipes that had been on the back burner for some time, saved up for a special occasion because of their need for such a pricey ingredient. They were all possible now. We could bake with a slight reckless abandon, confections for everyone! But wait, there's no information on the package as to what type of bean they really are? So we investigated.
We went straight to Rodelle who as it turns out is a surprisingly green company. They are doing their best to keep their imprint as a company down and supporting growers in every way possible. They are a huge charity contributor, fund disaster and relief efforts and if that wasn't enough, their whole company is wind powered and you can read even more about their efforts here.
Their site tells us that the "majority" of their beans are from Madagascar and we'd have to say we agree that's what this product is as well. Tahitian beans tend to be a little shorter, more slender and less creamy (and we swear they smell like prunes, but maybe that's just us). But since the package isn't labeled either way, we can't give you a definitive answer on that.
Pick some up and use them for yourself or even give them to a foodie friend as a hostess gift for a summer get together!
• Sources: Vanilla Beans in Bulk
• Good Question: What Is Vanilla Powder?
• Technique: Homemade Vanilla Extract
(Image: Sarah Rae Trover)