How to store Tahitian Vanilla?
I just got back from Tahiti, and bought several small packs of vanilla beans as gifts. There are about 5 pods in a pack, vacuum sealed (but not tightly.) I want to use them as Christmas gifts, but don't want them to go bad or maybe mold (they look moist) before December.
Does anyone know if they will go bad? Should my friends get an early Xmas gift? Or can I put them in the fridge or freezer? Or just leave them as-is?
Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated! This stuff smells awesome, and I don't want to ruin the beans!
If I were you, I'd make vanilla sugar (just Google it). You have plenty of time before Christmas for the vanilla flavors and aromas to start penetrating the sugar. Your friends are going to LOVE you this Christmas, especially if they bake and you can arrange for Santa to visit a bit early! :)
The instructions I got on my vanilla beans said to wrap tightly and do NOT put in fridge or freezer. Christmas is not that far away--they will be fine.
Vanilla sugar is nice for bakers or folks who sweeten their coffee/tea. I use the demarara sugar for this--the bigger crystals are great on top of sugar cookies.
I would store them in Vodka. The beans are preserved, they are soft therefore you can snip the top and squeeze out the seeds as needed, plus the vodka becomes vanilla extract.
While the beans are sealed leave them in the pantry. A vacuum sealed bag is fine.
Once you open the seal, well then you have lots of choice....but even dry the pods can be brought back to life or chopped up fine (like coffee grounds) and used in rolls, pastry and even in with your coffee brew. I wouldn't freeze them. Refrig is fine; just double wrap with plastic.
But truly they are better off in all kinds of sugar, in rum or vodka, in with your coffee beans and in recipes you plan on making. If you decide to gift them...save one for yourself!
I am jealous. It has been a long time since I've been to Tahiti.
I too bought vanilla while I was there, though I bought bags of about 30 beans from a local.
I had mine in a glass jar in my cabinet for over two years. They stayed supple and lovely the whole time. You're fine for Christmas, no need to do anything.
Thanks everyone! I will wrap tight the gift ones. I am also definitely going to make some vanilla sugar, and vanilla vodka. My husband wants to make vanilla whiskey. The vanilla grower we met said he puts a whole vanilla bean in a bottle of whiskey and lets it sit for a week. Then he transfers to another bottle. He said he has been doing a bottle a week, for 12 years, all with the same bean!!