Can anyone direct me to a place where I can buy "quality" vanilla extract? I see gallons on sale online but prices range drastically from $90 - $400. Not sure what is actually a good price and not sure which brands are the best to get. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
Egads! $400 a gallon - what's in it. I like this vanilla http://www.silvercloudestates.com/viewlist.aspx?cat=21 and its in the $80 range. I also make my own vanilla with leftover beans and vodka but never seem to have enough with all the extract we use.
I make my own, I have 3 "fifths" all the time now. Buy grade "B" vanilla beans on ebay, get a fifth (or gallon) of decent vodka. I put about 30 vanilla beans in a fifth (cut them in half, then those into 1/3) and stuff them in the bottle. Keep it in a dark cupboard for a couple of months, shake it every couple of days. Makes AWESOME vanilla - a fraction of the cost of buying it. You can make it with whatever kind of beans you want - madagascar, mexican, tahitian, you can pick! I'll never buy vanilla again.
Like Loucinda said. I make my own with vodka and vanilla beans from J R Mushroom. It is great and a LOT less expensive.
Seriously, I had no idea vanilla extract could be made from vodka!!! I love this site!!
I made my own Kahlua one time - I think it included instant coffee and vanilla beans in vodka.
I make vanilla too--I've been using it mainly in gift baskets I give at weddings and showers. I like having one kind of vanilla for my baking and not everything I use it for can have the vanilla seeds in it. (basically talking about frostings) If you're going to make your own vanilla I'd suggest starting with a vanilla vodka. I've experimented around a lot and like the results best when I start with that.
IMHO there is nothing better than Watkins Vanilla for my baking and frostings. I buy the clear and it runs around $70 a gallon, I think. The only time I use dark vanilla anymore is if I want an ivory buttercream. I don't care for McCormicks, forget about whatever that stuff is Sams Club carries and calls real.. Tones, maybe? It's Watkins for me!
I strain the bottle that I use for icing, that way there are no little specks in it. I tell my brides that they can either have the snow white with the artificial vanilla, or they can have a slightly off white with REAL vanilla.
I don't start with vanilla vodka, I don't know what they have used to get it that flavor, to make real vanilla, I want to make sure there is nothing in there but vanilla beans and the alcohol to make it. I just use a nice middle of the road priced vodka. (don't use the cheap stuff)
National Flavors offers a variety of flavoring products (in bulk sizes) to the general public at wholesale prices:
Kamicakes - I noticed your also in Rhode Island. I order my vanilla extract from King Arthur Flour online, I only buy this one:
It's $39.95 for 32 oz, and since it's shipped from Vermont the shipping charges usually aren't too high.
This is the only vanilla I use, flat out refuse to use artificial vanilla. I still get white frosting using this, too.
I forgot to add, if you wanted to try out this vanilla, they sell a smaller bottle at the Williams-Sonoma stores in Cranston and Providence.
The best tasting bulk vanilla extract I've found comes from http://vanilla.com/store. Price goes up and down depending on the market, but right now it's $80 a gallon depending on what kind you get.
From their website:
Rain’s Choice vanilla extracts are made from sun-cured premium vanilla beans using a cold extraction process. Whereas FDA regulations require 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of extract, our extracts are made with 15.56 ounces per gallon, or 20 percent more than other extracts. Our extracts contain no caramel coloring, corn syrup or other additives. All of our products are GMO-free, gluten-free and certified Kosher.
Please visit McNessStore.com. If you call up and buy in quantity, you can get wholesale pricing. Customers swear this is the best vanilla you can find. Buy a small bottle to see if you agree on the quality, then go for the gallons. Please note that the Champion Madagascar is double strength. (Full disclosure: I am associated with the company.)