For years (decades?) I have been buying vanilla at Costco. Not only is it reasonably priced, but the giant bottle means I seldom run out. I know I am getting close to running out for weeks before I actually do, so I have that many additional opportunities to remember to buy more. Recently I was reading about vanilla production and I wondered if buying that big jug was the right thing to do.
Enter Organic Fair Trade Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla from Neilsen-Massey. I decided to take this vanilla for a spin using one of the recipes from Primal Cravings. (BTW, I LOVE this book) When baking with traditional ingredients the flavors of butter and flour really come through in the finished product. When cooking using Paleo methods, there is less fat and the flours are very neutral, letting the main ingredients shine.
When it came time to add the vanilla to this recipe I did something I do not normally do, I used a measuring spoon. Measuring out the vanilla I realized that I usually use WAY more of the Costco vanilla then the recipe calls for, maybe even three times as much. So that big bottle is not quite as reasonably priced as I thought.
The proof is in the pudding, and the flavor in the finished muffin was spot on. In the future, I will be paying a little more for vanilla, but knowing it is fair trade makes it worth the higher price. I am all for paying farmers a fair wage for what they grow. Everybody wins.