Lately, everywhere I go people people ask me about the spiking prices of vanilla. They tell me “even at Costco” the price of vanilla extract has doubled and in some cases tripled. I myself have had to rase some of my own vanilla prices higher than I would like, and many online sellers have mostly “sold out” signs on their various vanilla beans.
People want to know why, and to be honest, it’s a complex question to answer, there are a lot of factors involved. Crop failure due to severe storms is an issue, bad business practices is another, and a third is large companies that historically have used imitation vanilla are bending to consumer demand for more real ingredients.
I heard horror stories from some of my importers, about how after a series monsoons wiped out a large percent of last year’s harvest unscrupulous business people tried to rush the curing process and succeeded in wiping out thousand of tons more vanilla as it rotted from bad handling.
All of this leads me to think long and hard about the sustainability of Vanilla Beans in the future. Many people, and businesses too don’t really know how amazing the vanilla bean is. People use it once and discard it, or if their beans dry out they throw them away. Recently, a local business told me they were scraping the seeds from the pods and throwing the beans away! If ever we wanted to eliminate an already very rare and difficult to cultivate spice, these are the ways!
Fact is, a while ago a man was hassling me about calling myself “World’s Greatest Vanilla” so I went home from vending that afternoon and ordered 6 or 7 vanilla extracts off Amazon – various companies people have told me they use, and even one considered top of the line that I used to use before I began making my own. When they arrived I was shocked to find half had sugar in them, and ALL had a fake vanilla smell aded to them!!!
I was shocked!
This leads me to what I am about to say, MAKE YOUR OWN VANILLA EXTRACT!!!
My very first product was a DIY Vanilla Extract Kit, I touted is as a “forever supply” of vanilla. I still stand by this product, and I urge you to make your own! It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s a cool learning experience for kids, it will produce better vanilla extract than you can but anywhere, and my kit is super affordable – plus you can make extract with it over and over again!
Order it today, give one to a friend, please, let’s keep vanilla around for generations to come by using it responsibly. This is a great way to do it: https://www.etsy.com/listing/123602411/diy-vanilla-extract-kit-do-it-yourself
There’s also other fun stuff in my Etsy store, and right now if you spend $30 or more you’ll get a cool Butter Bag!