Ok I've got to put my 2 cents in.
FIRST...........GREAT POST thank you for this less expensive way to get vanilla.
I bought a gallon from a Hispanic co-worker back in 2005. He bought it in Mexico.
Was really cheap. Seemed like good vanilla.
I've in the past always used the good old Watkins Vanilla. Love that stuff.
But now, I'm going to make my own.
This reminds me of the herbal remedies I make now that I'm learning how to do it.
It's infusing herbs or in this case vanilla beans into an alcohol.
I do this with Echinacea in Vodka to make a tincture for cuts, scrapes etc.
I just finished putting some other herbs into Witch Hazel for a distillate. Lavender being one of them.
If you have trouble getting vanilla beans, try Mountain Rose Herbs.
They are organic vanilla beans. They sell all organics. I buy all my herbs there. http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/search ... s&x=22&y=7
The group I'm learning herbs from John gets a little cut if people go to Mountain Rose Herbs from his linked website.
This helps him keep everything FREE on his herbal site. I buy mine through his link. http://www.iwantherbs.com
These vanilla beans may be more expensive (I haven't compared yet) but they are organic. Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful company.
I just compared and MRH is
1oz Vanilla Bean organic $10.25 (6-9 beans per ounce)
That's where I'm getting mine. I know they aren't sprayed.
AND YOU KNOW HOW ALLERGIC I CAN BE WITH CHEMICALS.
Mountain Rose Herbs even mention’s the alcohol usage.
The whole bean may be used in food, tea, and cosmetics, and is abundantly found as a liquid flavoring extract in a base of alcohol.
Click on the name of product and it takes you to another page for descriptions and usage. http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/vanilla_bean.php
As I'm reading on the Ebay site they say theirs are organic. Not certified because a 3rd world country doesn't acquire a USDA certification. So they probably are due to their cost to buy fertilizer.