Vanilla beans are available in many stores nowadays. With the increased demand, store owners often buy their stock in bulk to save money.
These stores usually have vanilla beans available in large quantities.
You should try to find a store like this if you want to buy a good amount of vanilla bean for an affordable price.
While vanilla beans are not difficult to use, it is important to know how to do so.
There are several ways to use vanilla beans in your cooking. All depend on the beans’ condition.
Fresh vanilla beans are good to use immediately. When using this type of bean, cut them into 2-3 pieces and add them to your cooking while still fresh.
Vanilla beans should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
This will help them last longer and retain their flavor. You can also freeze the beans for storage.
They will not be good to use directly from the freezer, however.
If you want to keep them longer than 6 months, it is recommended that you dry and then freeze your vanilla bean pods.
It can take up to a year for frozen vanilla beans to fully dry out before cooking or baking recipes.
Continue reading for instructions on how to freeze vanilla beans.
How to Use Vanilla Beans in Recipes?
Vanilla beans can be used in baking recipes to add a rich vanilla flavor to cakes, cookies, and other desserts.
You can also use them when making hot beverages like coffee or hot chocolate.
Vanilla beans are good for savory dishes, especially those containing fish, pork, and poultry.
This is because vanilla beans are very aromatic. Vanilla beans can be used differently depending on what you are cooking and the outcome you want.
If you plan to infuse a liquid with vanilla, place them in a cheesecloth or a fine sieve before adding it to your mixture.
This will make removal easier later on. You also need to consider how strong you want the vanilla flavor to be.
When baking, it is recommended that you add the beans after the mixture has been placed into your baking pans or molds.
This will help prevent splitting and make removal easier so you can scrape off any excess and use only what you need later on.
It is also important that you remove all of the excess vanilla beans.
You can use these elsewhere or even place them in a container and add them back to the mix for more flavor.
If you are using vanilla beans in a savory dish, add them at the beginning of your cooking process.
If you are using vanilla beans in a hot beverage, add them to your mixture or cup after being poured into a glass and steaming.
If you want to keep your fresh vanilla beans longer, then you can dry and freeze them.
This will help prevent any browning and will also help prevent oxidation.
How to Freeze Vanilla Beans?
The easiest way to freeze your vanilla beans is in a zip-lock plastic bag. Place the beans in the zipper compartment of the bag and close tightly.
You can also place them into another container as long as it is airtight. The beans will last longer when stored this way, typically up to a year or longer.
You can also wrap your beans in cheesecloth and then place them carefully in a plastic bag.
Repeat this process until all of the beans fit into one or two containers. This is good for those that are planning to use their vanilla beans within several months.
Another option is to use freezer paper and then wrap the beans. This will allow you to easily remove and re-use them later on.
You can also place your beans on a tray or baking sheet and freeze them to make sure they are stored evenly and easier to scoop out later.
Once frozen, transfer your vanilla bean pods into a plastic bag or container.
You can then place them back into the freezer for storage.
This is especially good for those planning to use vanilla beans within a few months rather than a year.
Be careful when removing frozen beans from the freezer because they break easily under pressure.
Does Freezing Affect Vanilla Beans?
It is commonly believed that freezing vanilla beans will cause them to become less aromatic, which means they won’t give off as much of a rich flavor when used in recipes.
This is true, but only for vanilla beans that have been frozen for an extended period.
Freezing your vanilla beans only for a few months at most will not make a difference in flavor or aroma.
The best way to prevent any problems with freezing vanilla beans is by using them within a few months of being frozen.
If you use your vanilla beans when they are still fresh and then freeze them, the quality will not change at all.
How to Thaw Frozen Vanilla Beans?
Thawing frozen vanilla beans are easy, but it can take a while and must be done correctly.
You want to make sure the beans are completely thawed before using them; otherwise, they will crack or split.
Here is how to keep your vanilla beans from splitting:
- You need to place your frozen vanilla bean pods into a bowl of cold water. The water temperature should be at least 40 degrees F. Gently stir your beans around and let them sit for about an hour.
- If they are not completely thawed after this period, then you can place the beans in a zip-lock bag with warm water until they have thawed out completely.
Another option is to place your beans in a zip-lock bag and then place them into the refrigerator overnight.
If they are still not thawed, then you can leave them in there for about 24 hours until they have thawed out completely.
Do not leave your beans in a hot water bath or warm your frozen vanilla bean pods in any way because it will split them.
They only need to be thawed at room temperature or in cold water.
Once your beans have fully thawed, you can remove them from the bag and use them immediately.
How to Tell if Vanilla Beans are Bad?
There are several signs to look for to figure out if your vanilla beans are bad.
Vanilla beans can last up to two years before they begin to lose their color and flavor.
If stored properly, the average life span of a vanilla bean is about one year, but there are some risks involved with storing them for that length of time.
If the vanilla beans have been stored properly, then there are several things you can look for to tell if they are bad.
One of the most common signs is a dull and dry outer skin that may crack if it gets any pressure.
If your vanilla bean pod has any mold or mildew growing on it, it is definitely not good and should be thrown away.
The same thing applies to any beans that have developed a sticky substance outside the pod, which is caused by too much moisture in your storage container.
To test for freshness, you can take a look inside your vanilla bean pods as well.
You want to make sure the interior of the beans consists of shiny, black seeds that smell strongly of vanilla.
If the beans are dull and light-colored with a faint scent, they are not good and should be thrown away.
In conclusion, vanilla beans can last for up to two years if stored properly, but there are some risks involved with storing them that long.
The best way to keep your vanilla beans fresh is by using methods like freezing and refrigeration, which will help the beans last longer.
If you freeze your vanilla bean pods in an airtight container, then they can remain good for over a year.
In the case of refrigeration, you can store them for up to nine months in a zip-lock bag.