Vanilla extract on steroids

By | July 1, 2011

The grand comparison

Back in May, I wondered why Israeli vanilla extract comes in those teeny-tiny bottles. And I said that although my husband had come up with an ingenious solution, I was still planning to bring the biggest-possible size of vanilla back from the States when I next visited.

Well, I meant it.

As you can see in the photo, the vanilla extract I found earlier this week in Toronto is clearly on steroids.

Let me put it this way: A normal bottle of vanilla in an Israeli grocery store holds 50 milliliters. But this whopper, no-name brand from Loblaws is 1 liter…TWENTY times the size of what we buy here!

To prove that I am not the only one who gets excited about big bottles of vanilla, allow me to share this:

Of all the items I brought back from my trip to North America — the beautiful runner for our Shabbos table with cloth napkins to match, new clothes for Hubby, magnets for our painfully bare fridge — my husband was most enthusiastic about the vanilla.

I think it takes a married man to appreciate a full liter of vanilla…or maybe he just senses the millions of muffins in his future.


Baking powder and baking soda were also on my shopping list. The difference in size between the Israeli and North American versions of baking soda is not as extreme, but I was still (really) glad to be able to buy an entire box of baking soda (454 grams instead of the 150-gram container I would find here) for ONE dollar in Maryland. Thank you, Dollar Tree.

The no. 1 winner, though, is the baking powder: A 450-gram canister of the stuff at my new favorite Canadian grocery is 45 times the size of those little 10-gram packets of Israeli baking powder.

So why do Israeli manufacturers insist on using the smallest packaging possible? Is it a marketing gimmick? Is it just the way things are done? (Kachah!)

Perhaps I’ll never know. It’s okay, though.

Tiny bottles of vanilla come as they may, I’m still so glad to be home.


Debra on February 15, 2012 at 7:34 pm.

I think I was on MominIsrael’s blog one day reading about stuff to bring to Israel when you make aliyah when I first learned about making vanilla. Here is a recipe I found Havent tried it yet but I am looking forward to not wasting weight with vanilla and instead just bringing vanilla beans! unless israel has those too…


Tali Simon on February 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm.

I’d love to make my own vanilla extract. It’d sure beat worrying about my huge bottle exploding in transit! Israel does have vanilla beans — I actually noticed them in my regular grocery a few weeks ago.


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