How to store vanilla beans
How to store vanilla beans

Intro

You might be new to the world of premium vanilla, or you might be an old-hand. Either way, this post will tell you all you need to know about storing and caring for your Native Vanilla beans (also known as pods).

By following this guide, you will ensure that your ethically-sourced and organically grown vanilla will remain in prime condition for up to a year.

Shelf life

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.

Unpacking

The time has come! Your order has just arrived. You can smell the heavenly scent of our tropical vanilla through the packaging. That’s because our packaging is just as special as the vanilla itself. All of our products come to you in our industry-leading, earth-friendly packaging solution. All of our bags and labels are 100% bio-degradable. That means you can add them to your garden compost instead of throwing them in the trash.

Storage

Air and moisture are the two things you want to avoid when storing your vanilla.

Step 1

Remove the vanilla from all packaging and wrap it in up in wax paper..

Step 2

Store it in an airtight/vacuum sealed container, ensuring you get as much air out as possible. Tupperware is good, but the plastic can absorb the vanilla’s flavor and aroma… which is why glass is preferred.

Step 3

Store your vanilla in a cool, dark place like a basement, pantry or cupboard. Keep your pods in the same place as other sensitive foods like olive oil, bread and chocolate and they should do great.

Temperature

Think of Goldilocks when storing your vanilla — not too hot and not too cold. Beans are most comfortable when the temperature ranges from 60 degrees F (15.5 C) to 85 degrees F (29 C). Excessive heat or cold will dry out the pods, sucking all the goodness and flavor out of the seeds.

Never keep the beans in the freezer or refrigerator! The cold will dry them out and rot, and it could even produce mold.

Airing

Do not store your Native Vanilla pods in the open or a vented container. Instead, you should remove your beans from their container and let them “breathe” once every eight weeks (and every four-six weeks in hotter months). This is to ensure that the beans are not “sweating” in their container. Moisture is bad for beans — it can lead to mold. Open the container, remove them from their cling wrap and allow both to “breathe” for 15 minutes, away from direct sunlight. Rewrap the beans and put them back in their cool, dark place.

Frosty Vanillin crystals

Our vanilla may develop small vanillin crystals. They can sometimes be confused with mold but we assure you, the crystals are a good thing! Take your pods outside int he sunshine without removing them from their glass storage. If they look hard and glitter in the light like Edward Cullen, then you have superior quality beans. Those crystals are gems of pure flavor and are completely edible.

Dry or Moldy Vanilla Beans

If the beans don’t glitter in the light, smell bad and have a whole powdery substance — then it’s mold. But don’t panic. You can save your beans, especially if the mold hasn’t reached all the beans. Separate the moldy beans from the clean ones. Wipe the moldy ones with a paper towel or clean cloth, then wipe them down with a cloth that is damp with high-proof alcohol. Allow them to dry completely and then store them separately from the unaffected beans. If the mold reappears, or has permeated the bean’s surface and is growing inside the pod, then you should throw them out.

What to do with dry vanilla beans

Even beans that look like they have dried out completely will rehydrate when put in a warm liquid, like heating in milk or warm water for a few hours before you cook/bake with them. But don’t expect miracles from rehydrating. We recommend you use the beans as fresh as possible for the best experience.

You can also use dry beans to make good quality extract as the alcohol will rehydrate them. Super dry beans are not a complete loss either, they can ground up in a coffee grinder, remember to remove the hard tips at each end.

What to do with empty pods

After vanilla beans have been scraped and all of the seeds have been used, you can submerge the empty pod into your sugar container. It will infuse the sugar with a delicate vanilla flavor.

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