Like all other spices and herbs, vanilla beans’ shelf life is a bit long, but it all depends on how you keep them. But contrary to the vanilla extract, the life of beans is shorter and will not last long. But the key to last them for long lies in the method of how you store them.
If not stored accurately, they will dry up very quickly and will go to waste. The beans may form frost on the surface; it does not mean it has gone bad; don’t mistake it with the mold.
How to store vanilla beans?
The way through which you can store your vanilla beans is quite easy. It would help if you put little effort into it to be fresh and don’t dry up. If you stored them how it has been advised, then beans aroma and freshness shall not be at stake.
It is because they get spoiled in a way, either they dry up, or the molds are formed, and for that to not happen, you need to store them properly. Following are some ways which you need to follow.
Wrap the vanilla beans for Storing
If you bought vanilla beans wrapped in a vacuum-sealed package, then you can keep it in there, then you can use beans, or it can last up to six months.
But in case they are not in a vacuum-sealed pack, it is then advised to wrap them either in a plastic wrap or another alternative is the wax paper. And if not both of these, then shift the beans in an airtight container. Or wrap it proper container but make sure you squeeze as much air out as possible.
Store it in a cool place
After you wrap them properly, the next step is to store the beans in a cool place, and the area provided shall be dark. The best is to store it in the kitchen’s pantry, or the cabinet will work if they are far from the oven.
Keeping it a cool place will help the beans stay fresh, and it will not dry up that quickly.
Keep away from direct heat
Beans to be kept away from sunlight or any direct or indirect source of heat. Because the vanilla beans are exposed to heat, they will get spoiled easily, or the formation of mold in beans is very common if not kept away from heat sources.
Can you freeze vanilla beans?
There are many pros and cons of freezing vanilla beans, but the cons of freezing them are more. It is highly prohibited to neither freeze them nor refrigerate them. Though it is a method of storing the beans will be more susceptible to molds.
Though freezing helps keep the aroma of any food item intact, it will dry out the beans way more quickly than outside the freezer in the case of vanilla beans. And freezing the beans requires a specific procedure, and if you have frozen it, then take it out from the packet once out from the refrigerator.
How long do vanilla beans last?
The answer is quite tricky because not only is it impossible to tell how long the beans will last even if you store them appropriately, but it has a lot to do with what condition you have bought them from the store.
If they were a little drier, then it would not last for long, but contrary to that, the beans would surely last long enough if they were fresh. The beans, though, will not last forever how the vanilla extract lasts.
And with time, the beans also lose their potency, which means the flavor and the aroma. Though the storage capacity is for up to two years, it is difficult to say if they will remain as fresh as those within those two years. The most it can last in the kitchen pantry, either opened or unopened, is for one whole year. Every few weeks, if you air the vanilla beans, it will increase the beans’ shelf life.
How to tell if the vanilla bean is bad?
It is quite easy to answer if the vanilla bean is bad. Following are few indicators that will help you know if your vanilla bean has gone bad or is it still usable, and they are as;
- If the beans are kept in humid conditions, then mold formation is very common, and if you find any mold, it is better if you discard them.
- The vanilla beans have a very strong aroma and if you feel that the scent of the beans is not as strong as it was when you bought them is a clear indication that the beans are not of their best quality. In contrast, it is fine to use it, but it is suggested not to use it further
- And lastly, if you do not find any of the above indicators, it is better to give it a taste test.
If you want to last longer, it is advocated to turn the vanilla beans into vanilla extract because it has a long shelf life. It is recommended to consume your beans within six months for having the best quality.