So you’ve done the right thing. Instead of paying $5+ per bean in a grocery store, you bought your vanilla beans in bulk. Unlike most grocery store beans, they are moist and supple…almost like raisins, but now you’re worried that they might dry out and lose their delicious flavor. Here’s how to protect them:
How to Store Vanilla Beans:
Vanilla beans should be stored in an air-tight container with as little air contact as possible. Methods we recommend are:
Best Quality: Vacuum packed. If you have access to a vacuum packing machine, use it to package all the vanilla beans you aren’t planning on using in the next few months. We recommend splitting your beans amongst multiple small bags so that you don’t have to repackage over and over as you draw from your vanilla bean supply.
Most Useful: Packed in sugar. Packing your vanilla beans in sugar will protect them from the air and excess humidity, while imparting a pleasing vanilla scent (and a little flavor) to the sugar (See our Vanilla Scented Sugar Recipe). We recommend using superfine sugar for this, as it will pack in more tightly around the beans and dissolves faster in beverages (which are a great place to use your vanilla scented sugar). Organic evaporated cane juice would also be a good choice, if you want more organic vanilla sugar. After you’ve used the seeds from a vanilla bean, you can return the leftover outer vanilla pod (wash & completely dry it first if necessary) to the sugar, where it will continue to impart additional vanilla scent and flavor.
Easiest Method: Tightly Wrapped in Plastic Wrap and a Zip-Top Bag. Though perhaps the least-effective recommended way to keep air from getting to your beans, this is the easiest method. Simply tightly wrap your beans in bundles using plastic wrap, and then put those bundles in a zip top bag. Press as much of the air out of the bag as you possibly can, and seal the bag.
Where to Put Your Vanilla Beans:
Once packed using one of the above methods, vanilla beans should be stored in a cupboard, closet, etc. A cool, dry place is best.
We do not recommend storing vanilla beans in the refrigerator or the freezer, as doing so will likely damage their quality over time. Refrigerators are also surprisingly damp places that encourage condensation, which can lead to fungus/mold growth on your beans.
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