By Kristie | June 10, 2020
People who keep vanilla beans at home have immaculate taste. (Alright, we may be a little biased.) But if you’re one of them, you’re probably no stranger to the cost of quality vanilla beans — they’re a precious commodity. Every bean counts because losing even one to dryness or mold would be quite the loss.
But there’s no need to lose sleep worrying about your excellent taste in spices — we’ve got just the guide on how to store vanilla beans to keep them plump, pliable, and fresh.
Once you get your Vanilla Beans, they’ll usually be in a vacuum-sealed plastic or airtight glass container. If you purchase vanilla from us, they’ll come in sealed glass tubes or vacuum-sealed packaging, depending on the quantity of beans. Don’t take them out until you intend to use them.
When you do open the packaging and want to store the rest, wrap them in wax paper and transfer them to a tightly sealed glass jar or double bag them in plastic, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. Even a Tupperware container with a tight seal will do. Then return them to that dark, cool spot in your cabinet or closet.
The beans should also be aired out every few weeks to let them breathe. Take them out of their container and let them sit for 10-15 minutes before putting them back in.
Never stick vanilla beans in the freezer or refrigerator, unless you’re asking for mold. They do best in the dark at cool room temperatures — 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit — so store them in a pantry or basement.
If your pods do dry out more than you’d like, they’re still usable. Put them in a bowl and pour in enough warm water to submerge the beans for about 10 minutes. Then pat and air dry them before returning them to their container.
Another way to plump up dry vanilla beans is to gather them into a bunch, cut one-eighth of an inch off an end, and stick them (cut ends down) in a jar filled with an inch of vodka. Over time, the alcohol will travel up the pods and remoisturize them. Kept like this, they should last for another 6 months before becoming too soft. When you want to use the vanilla, you can squeeze the seeds out of the cut ends like a paste.
When stored in ideal conditions, vanilla beans can stay moist and last up to two years. For optimal freshness, we’d recommend that you buy quantities that you intend to use within 6-12 months. If you have vanilla extract, vanilla bean powder, or vanilla bean paste, store these the same way that you would store vanilla beans: in tightly sealed containers kept in a cool, dark place.
We hope this quick guide helps you keep your vanilla in the best shape of its (shelf) life!