Vanilla is probably my favorite spice and it is also the most expensive after saffron. It adds depth of flavor to so many things. Added to chocolate it makes the chocolate more chocolatey and you just can’t beat that. That being said, it can be fairly pricey, especially at the rate I go through it. So, today I’m going to tell you about two strategies I’ve come up with to keep the cost down.
The first is bulk vanilla. You can order bulk vanilla from a co-op for a much cheaper price. The same goes for bulk vanilla beans, so much cheaper than the spice jars from the grocery store. I also get bulk vanilla from a local organic grocery. You can bring your own bottle or buy one, then the vanilla is sold by weight. Also you can usually buy individual vanilla beans from your local health food store much cheaper than from a regular grocery store.
The second tip is look for vanilla at TJ-Max. I have often found the more expensive brands at a reduced price there.
As a side note; did you know vanilla comes from the orchid family? I thought that was interesting. The Spanish conquistador, Cortez is given credit for bringing both vanilla and chocolate back to Europe in 1520. See, they knew vanilla and chocolate was a good thing even back then.