How to preserve vanilla? This question is quite recurrent, even from professional chefs or pastry chefs. It is all the more understandable to the view of current prices of vanilla
Vanilla is a spice which needs a long preparation in order to dry and to develop its aromatic bouquet. To easily work vanilla in cooking and pastry, vanilla bean should be soft and fleshy; its moisture content gives it these two main characteristics.
Warning ! : Too moist vanilla because of a lack of drying or by a poor management of the curing process has a high risk of mold. The expertise of the perfect drying “Enough to stabilize the product but not much to let it supple” is not the prerogative of all.
Like wine, vanilla is a living natural product. During storage, it continues to evolve:
– Evolution of its aromas (notes of wood and licorice for non- split vanilla beans from Madagascar who have 3-4 years of maturity)
– Natural desiccation (loss of moisture that causes drying of the bean, a loss of flexibility and a reddening of its colour).
Keys points to preserve vanilla
Protect it from the air and odors
Firstly it is important to know that vanilla is a sponge, it absorbs odors that surround it. It is therefore imperative to isolate it from other scents.
In order vanilla retains its flexibility and its flavors as long as possible, we recommend to keep it in an airtight container: plastic box preferably glass jar. The container should be as suitable as possible in terms of size so that there is not too much air and therefore chances that vanilla dries. If you have available greaseproof paper, do not hesitate to upholster your plastic box. This will allow the vanilla less sweat in contact with the plastic.
The vacuum bag is for professional a great way to keep the vanilla (to the extent that vanilla was well dried and stabilized in its country of origin). However, it is imperative to close it properly after use so that air does not get in.
Protect it from light
Light, responsible of heat, can contribute to the dyring of the vanilla beans.
What about the refrigerator and freezing vanilla?
These methods seem increasingly used by professionals. Neither freezing nor the fridge alter the vanilla properties.
Neverthelessitis important to notethat vanillais similarto wine,itsflavors develop and mature over
time, the cold freezes the phenomenon. Do not judge as curious to put a bottle of a wonderful red wine in the fridge and even more so in the freezer?
Note: with the cold, white dots may appear on the bean, this is not mold but a reaction to cold.
Vanilla is greasy and oily. As the cold stored oil, oily surface vanilla freezes and whitens.
To ensure that there is no mold, keep the bean to the ambient air, white dots should disappear.
What about a bit of alcohol?
A poorly dried vanilla is sensitive to mold. Some people advise to have and keep the bean in an alcohol base.
Alcohol is known for its antiseptic qualities. This funny advice should an alarm and suggests that vanilla is fragile and susceptible to fungal attack.
This advice is for us an aberration: “A well-prepared and properly dried vanilla does not need to be preserved in this way.”
Conservation of powder and extracts
The powder must be protected from moisture, and extracts placed out of the sun so that the sugar does not crystallize.
Vanilla shelf life
Vanilla is not a perishable product, however, we recommend you to consume it within two years so that it keeps its flexibility and its aromas.