Q: How do I know I’m getting quality vanilla extract?

A: Deal with a reputable company who sells custom-made vanilla extract that has not been adulterated or diluted, or has had artificial vanillin added. None of our Vanilla Extracts contain added sugar or any artificial ingredients, and all folds are full-strength.

Q: Why Madagascar vanilla products?

A: The majority of Vanilla Beans grown in the world come from the Madagascar region – and for a good reason. They simply produce the best vanilla in the world. There are other countries that produce the vanilla Planifolia bean – with slight differences in flavor profile, but we choose to source our beans from Madagascar due to the consistently superior quality.

Q: What is “Single-Fold extract vs. Two-Fold, etc?

A: The fold, or strength, of the extract is determined by the amount of Vanilla Beans used in the extraction process. Our Two-Fold Extract is twice the strength of our single fold, and our Ten-Fold is ten times the strength. Our Vanilla Purée is equivalent to a three-fold extract. The quantity of beans we must use when producing Vanilla Extract is determined by the U.S. FDA. By the way, please be wary of Mexican Vanilla Extract as it has been known to contain coumarin, a substance banned in the U.S. Please see this FDA warning for details.

Q: Do your products contain gluten? What about kosher certification?

A: All of the products we sell are gluten-free, all-natural and are certified kosher.

Q: You list some of your Vanilla Beans as being “Grade-A”. What does that mean?

A: Grade-A Vanilla Beans are hand-sorted to ensure a minimum length of 6" (most are longer), and a full, plump appearance, and are moist, oily, flexible and loaded with flavorful vanilla seeds. Approximate moisture content of 30%. With the exception of our 5-Bean sampler package, all of our Vanilla Beans are sold by weight, and the total amount of beans per package will vary depending on length and size, but rest assured, we will only ship you Grade-A, gourmet beans.

Q: I noticed that you also carry Extract Grade-B Vanilla Beans. What are those?

A: Extract Grade-B Vanilla Beans are specifically graded and cured to use for making Vanilla Extract, and are drier and less oily than the Grade A Beans. Their moisture content is approximately in the 20% range and they are also perfect for making your own homemade extract, at a significant cost saving compared with using Grade A Beans.

Q: Vanilla Beans look interesting, but what on earth would I do with them?

A: Lots of things! You can make your own homemade vanilla extract, you can use the caviar (seeds) inside the beans to flavor baked goods, dairy products, or anything for which you would normally use Vanilla Extract. To use your Vanilla Beans, start by carefully trimming off the ends with a sharp knife. Then, cut the bean in half lengthwise exposing the seeds. Using the tip of a spoon, scrape out the contents of the bean (the caviar). Use this “paste” to create your masterpiece. Each bean contains about the same flavor as 3 teaspoons of quality Vanilla Extract. When finished, cut the empty beans into pieces and stir them into your sugar bowl. In a short time, you'll have made your own Vanilla Sugar!

Q: How do I keep my Vanilla Beans fresh once I receive them?

A: Your beans will arrive in either a sealed glass vial (5-bean sampler), or in a vacuum-sealed pouch, inside of a second resealable bag. We recommend you don’t open them until you’re ready to use them, and after opening them, seal the remainder securely in the zipper bag provided, after squeezing out the air. The enemies of Vanilla Beans are air, sunlight and heat. For the longest shelf life, put the sealed bag of beans in a capped glass jar, or Tupperware-type container. Store the beans in a pantry or somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight. Refrigeration is NOT recommended as the air in there tends to be dry. Under ideal storage, beans should stay fresh for months.

Q: My beans were well-stored, but after many months have become dry and stiff. What now?

A: Remain calm! You can be sure that most of the flavor is still in there! You need to hydrate the beans by soaking them in warm water for at least an hour or more. Once they are soft and pliable again, use them as you normally would. Be sure to only hydrate what you will use immediately. Due to the water absorbed, they can get moldy if left unused.

Q: I have had my beans for a while, and they have started to get a whitish, crystal-type of coating on the outside. What is happening?

A: This substance is the natural vanillin (the primary flavoring component) coming to the surface of the bean. It is harmless, edible, and indicates that your Vanilla Beans are loaded with flavor.