Vanilla isn’t as boring as people make it out to be. Use vanilla beans to add that distinctive sweet aroma and flavor to your drinks and desserts.
There is one bad things about vanilla beans – and it’s not that they’re boring. It’s that they’re usually pretty expensive. Therefore, if you’ve bought a bunch of packs of vanilla beans, you’re probably wondering:
Can vanilla beans go bad? I don’t want to waste them!
Here’s the short answer: Vanilla beans last for quite a while – around 2 years. However, to keep them at their optimum, you need to air your vanilla beans every few weeks to prevent them from drying out.
How To Tell If Your Vanilla Beans Have Gone Bad
Vanilla beans definitely do go mad. This usually happens because they’ve gone moldy in humid conditions.
If you spot any mold on your vanilla beans, it’s best they go in the bin.
However, you may also notice frosty crystals on the surface of your vanilla beans. Don’t confuse these with mold. These crystals are completely safe to eat – they are vanillin that has emerged from the inside of the bean whilst drying.
Although moisture creates mold, so that’s the real enemy here, you also need to make sure your vanilla beans haven’t dried out. Dry vanilla beans aren’t dangerous or bad for you, but they will have lost their aroma and flavor, so discard them for quality reasons.
If your beans have just dried up a little, but they still have a good whiff of delicious vanilla aroma, consider rehydrating them. Simply soak your vanilla beans in milk or water for 2-3 hours, and that should restore some of their texture, aroma and flavor!
If you want to use your vanilla beans before they go bad, use them in vanilla extract. More on that in a bit!
How To Store Vanilla Beans
You should wrap your vanilla beans in plastic wrap or wax paper, then place that in an airtight container. This will act as an airtight seal, a barrier against your vanilla beans and the bacteria of the outside world!
That said, airing beans is also beneficial, so unwrap your beans every few weeks and leave them on the counter for 15 minutes. That should be sufficient time to allow the air to circulate.
Therefore, even with unopened vanilla beans that you’re not planning to use for a while, you should open them after about 5 months to let them air.
Keep the container in a cool, dark, dry place, and make sure you keep it away from any sources of heat. Unfortunately, the refrigerator is not the right option. It will make your vanilla beans go moldy faster!
The Shelf-Life of Vanilla Beans
How long your vanilla beans last depend on a whole variety of factors, including production, storage before you bought them, and storage after you bought them. Therefore, it’s hard to say exactly how long your vanilla beans last.
Your best bet is just to check the best-by date on the label. That’s likely to be around 2 years after the date your purchased your beans. Your vanilla beans will likely be okay for a good 6 months after that, provided you’ve kept them in reasonable conditions.
Scroll up if you missed how to store your vanilla beans.
After 6 months beyond the best-by date, your vanilla beans won’t smell or taste as good, and you’re at an increased risk of seeing dryness or mold.
As always, if you’re unsure about the quality of your beans, check them against the signs we detailed above, on how to tell if your vanilla beans have gone off.
There’s one bit of good news: Opening your vanilla beans won’t make them degrade faster (in fact, it often helps for airing purposes). Therefore, storage times are the same for opened or unopened vanilla beans!
Saving Old Vanilla Beans: How To Make Vanilla Extract
Got a load of vanilla beans with best-by dates in the next few months?
Consider making vanilla extract to use up your beans and preserve their life.
Slit your vanilla beans down the middle so the seeds are exposed. You don’t need to break the bean apart completely.
Put 6 vanilla beans in a bottle or jar. If your vanilla beans don’t fit, cut them up into smaller pieces.
Pour 1 cup vodka over your beans. Add a bit extra if you need to – your vanilla beans will go slimy, unless they’re fully submerged.
Seal the jar and give it a good shake.
Store the jar at room temperature and give it a shake every week or so. If you’re in a hurry, use the vanilla in a minimum of 8 weeks. Otherwise, give it a year for the flavors to fully develop.
You can expect your homemade vanilla extract to last for at least 2 extra years!
Vanilla Beans should be stored in a cool and dark place, away from the heat in order to maintain the best quality.
You should air your vanilla beans every few weeks.
The shelf life of vanilla beans is approximately 2 years depending on the proper storage conditions.
Vanilla beans often develop frosty crystals, which are perfectly safe to eat and you should not mistake them for mold.
They can lose effectiveness gradually and if you find yourself not able to smell any of their distinctive aroma, you should get rid of them.
So, now you have all the knowledge you need to store your vanilla beans safely, go make some killer recipes!
How do you know if vanilla bean paste is bad?
The shelf life of vanilla bean paste is approximately 1 year, but it can be stored for up to 24 months in an airtight container in the pantry. Vanilla bean paste is used in a wide range of recipes, including baked goods and ice cream. Therefore, its shelf life is a crucial aspect to consider. Vanilla sugar (also known as vanilla sugar) is often used in baking and decoration, and tends to be a bit brittle. Its shelf life can be roughly up to 3 years, but it is best avoided if kept in an airtight container in the pantry.
How To Harvest Vanilla Beans?
Most vanilla farmers begin the harvest process by aging their beans; both the pods and seeds are collected and stored for future use. The pods are generally separated from the seeds, since they can’t be used for extract or essential oil production.
Does vanilla bean paste go bad?
Vanilla bean paste has a very long shelf life and it can last up to 24 months if you store them properly. It is essential to keep them in a cool and dry place so that they don’t absorb moisture. You can also use your paste within 4-6 months if it has not been opened. If you are using a glass jar, then make sure the top is tightly closed after each use.
Can you get sick from expired vanilla extract?
Expired vanilla extract is extremely common and most stores wouldn’t even bother to keep it on the shelves. The truth is, vanilla bean paste has a very long shelf life and it can last up to 24 months if you store them properly. It is essential to keep them in a cool and dry place so that they don’t absorb moisture. You can also use your paste within 4-6 months if it has not been opened. If you are using a glass jar, then make sure the top is tightly closed after each use.
What Does Vanilla Extract Taste Like?
Vanilla extract with no added alcohol has a sweet, slightly vanilla aroma which will linger in your mouth for hours after you smell it. It tastes great with a variety of desserts and drinks including icecream, coffee, soft drinks, and fruit juices.
How Much Alcohol is in Vanilla Extract?
Vanilla extract has many uses and is often used to make vanilla sugar. Its extraction process is actually very simple which involves using alcohol which has a high percentage of ethanol in it. The percentage of alcohol present in the extract differs from brand to brand depending on the method they use to extract the flavoring substance. The amount added to each bottle will depend on how potent you want your extract to be. For example, if you want your bottle’s content to be around 3% then you would add 0.
How do you store vanilla bean paste after opening?
After using, keep the vanilla bean paste tightly closed in the container. If you have a small jar then you can use it for everyday purposes. The leftover paste can be stored in a refrigerator to avoid it from spoiling but make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using.
What is the best way to store vanilla bean powder?
Vanilla powder has many uses and is often mixed with other ingredients for making different desserts and drinks. If you want your vanilla powder to stay fresh for a long time, then remember to store it in an airtight container away from moisture and heat. If used in small quantities, your vanilla powder can be kept on the kitchen shelf but remember that heat transfer could affect its quality.
Are you supposed to refrigerate vanilla bean paste?
If the vanilla paste has been opened, then it should be kept tightly sealed in an airtight container. The leftover paste can be stored in a refrigerator to avoid it from spoiling but make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using.
How do you know if your vanilla bean is bad?
The shelf life of vanilla bean is 2 years and they can last up to 20 years if properly stored. They are best stored in a cool and dark place away from the heat, which may lead them to develop frosty crystals, which are perfectly harmless.
It is always important to store your vanilla beans properly. Vanilla extract can be preserved up to 24 months if stored in a cool and dry place. Flawless freshness is the guarantee of quality. You should not buy cheap vanilla, as you do with other spices, since they taste the same. Vanilla extract will give you the true vanilla flavor you want in your recipe, so make sure to check out our article on how to make homemade vanilla extract at home.
A.: All spices, even whole spices like vanilla beans, will go bad over time, and while they may not spoil, they will lose their flavor. Vanilla beans may spoil or get moldy if not stored in a cool, dry place. If stored properly, most whole spices will last as long as three or four years.
Unlike vanilla extract, beans don't last forever. If stored correctly, vanilla beans can last anywhere from six months to three years without losing potency. While perfectly safe and usable, the quality in aroma, flavor and supple texture has been known to diminish after a year.
How To Tell If Vanilla Beans Are Bad? The beans can become moldy, especially when kept in humid conditions. Mold will appear as fuzzy or spongy spots on the beans. If that happens, generally speaking, you should discard the beans.
Vanilla beans can last for years if stored properly, but even then they still can dry out. But not to worry. You can easily rehydrate dried vanilla bean pods in hot (not boiling) water and other liquids to soften for use or reuse (more on this later).
Let the vanilla beans infuse the vodka for as little as 8 weeks, but for optimal flavor, wait at least 6-12 months before using. Homemade vanilla is more cost efficient than store-bought options. You can try homemade vanilla sugar too. Vanilla extract is an ingredient in many of our baked goods.
If your vanilla arrives in vacuum sealed packaging, we suggest that you do not open the package until usage. We do recommend that you remove the beans from the package after approximately 6 months. Keep in mind that you might see a brown liquid throughout the vacuum sealed packaging.
When stored properly, vanilla extract will keep indefinitely, but using it within five years will allow for best flavor and aroma. Do not refrigerate or freeze, even after opening. What is the shelf life of my vanilla beans? When stored properly, two years.
Also remember that mold cannot grow on anything submerged in alcohol. Vanilla bean pod particles may also break down over time, so it isn't uncommon to see specs or "floaties" in your extracts, especially if you sliced or cut your beans before submersing them.
Vanilla has a sweet, rich, syrupy scent that exudes warmth in a uniquely alluring way. It cannot be compared to any other scent, and that's part of its charm. Ironically, vanilla beans grow in an orchid-like plant along with flowers that have absolutely no scent.