Storage of vanilla beans?
Hi! (My virgin post on Chowhound, so please don't be too rough on me!)
I am considering buying a pound worth of vanilla beans (to save on cost vs buying single beans) to make some vanilla extract with... however, I know I won't use that much all at once to make the stuff I will use. Just wondering if anyone can tell me the best way to store the excess beans until I can cook more goodies with them? (Temperature, dark or no, type of container, anything added to the beans to keep them fresh, how long they might keep for, anything helps!)
Thanks in advance from a newb :)
I've been working on a lb of beans for about a year now. I keep them in a handi-vac vacuum bag (Reynolds makes the handi-vacs) and re-vacuum seal them after I take out what I need. They're stored at room temp in my spice cabinet. Still soft, sticky and fragrant after nearly a year of storing them this way.
I would store them in glass or something that doesn't breath. I had a bunch of vanilla beans in plastic bags for the past year or so and a couple of them went all brittle.
I bought a 1/2 lb a few months ago (actually from e-bay - it was mentioned on a different thread, otherwise I never would have thought to look there - from a seller called Vanilla Products USA). I have been keeping them in their original bag and then in two additional ziploc freezer bags at room temp in my pantry. The package suggested 3 layers of plastic bags. So far they are just about as good as new, although there are not too many left. I would definitely encourage you to buy the pound (or half pound) since they are SO much cheaper. I love having beans around and not feeling like they are so precious that I cannot use them.
Some friends and I ordered a couple varieties and split the large order. I put 6 or so beans in bags and vacuum sealed them so that when we opened a package we only had to store a few at a time.
I'll do the same when we reorder, but it seems to me that the Reynolds ziplock bags with the vacuum seal would be just the thing for a small number of beans. Each time you open the ziplock to take a bean you could recreate the vacuum to protect the remaining unused ones.
Those bags can fail over time, tho, so I'd still use the heavier duty vacuum sealer for the long term storage. I still have packages that are almost a year old and still looking good.