How To Store and Reconstitute Vanilla Beans
What is the best way to store unused vanilla beans? We recommend putting them into a plastic bag (the plastic bag you receive them in is a good storage carrier). Then place the bag in an airtight jar or container. Make certain you store the jar in a cool, dark place. It is best not to refrigerate the vanilla beans since they have a tendency to get brittle and crystallize.
If you find that over time the beans become dry, don’t discard. But, before you attempt to cut them open and remove the dark black seeds from the pod, reconstitute them in a warm liquid.
You can also grind the dry beans and add a teaspoon or so to your favorite coffee grinds for a wonderful vanilla coffee.
Sometimes you might notice that the beans will develop white crystals on the outside over time. These white crystals are a sign that the vanilla beans are high in vanillin and are excellent in quality. Don’t worry about cleaning the bean since these crystals are edible and very flavorful.
To make certain the crystals are not simply mildew this simple test will confirm the presence of vanillin. Place the beans into sunlight. The crystals should create multiple colors. If the crystals are mildew their presence in the sun will give off a dull and flat appearance. We would suggest discarding any beans that exhibit these qualities. If you use them they may give an off taste to your finished product.