How to Tell if Vanilla Beans are Bad, Info, Tips and Recipe

The aroma of fresh vanilla extract is what tantalizes our taste buds. And honestly speaking, there is nothing more lovely other than a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, one must realize that we do not use vanilla in our everyday meals? So the utility of vanilla is once a month. Therefore, once you purchase some vanilla beans, you are bound to store them for a long time because of no use. And here comes the crux of today’s topic – how to tell if vanilla beans are bad? How to store it? And how long should we keep it?

If you are also staring into the sky for answers, and are clueless, here, let me bring you to light. This article is intended to enlighten you on Vanilla beans and how to tell if vanilla beans are bad. We will be answering every possible question and try to solve every pain point you face. 

So, hold tight! 

Vanilla, origin and usage

Vanilla is undoubtedly one of the most consumed spices all over the globe. People across the countries have praised it for its fantastic taste and mouth-watering aroma. But, before hopping into our actual discussion, let us know a bit about this world-famous spice.

Vanilla, also called Vanilla planifolia, is derived from orchids of the Mexican flat-leaved vanilla plants. They are orchids of the vanilla genus. Etymologically, the word vanilla came from the Spanish word vaina. The original Spanish word means ‘pods’ or ‘sheath.’ 

This world-famous spice is used in so many dishes in so many forms that people have broadly accepted this. Also, vanilla is considered to be the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron. So, you may guess its stardom easily.  

Can Vanilla Beans spoil?

If you want a straightforward answer to this question, well, I would say yes. But, like all other fresh herbs and spices, it can also go wrong. If you do not keep them carefully, molds can grow on them. That is how they are spoiled. But there are layers to this statement. 

Now, sometimes you can see some mold-like structure on vanilla beans. Those frosty crystals are not to be mistaken for mold. These are made of vanillin that comes out of the beans and forms them. But yes, there are cases where vanilla beans have shown molds growing on them. If you see something like that, you should throw it away at once. 

But there are different scenarios with the vanilla beans as well. Some spices fade away and lose their fresh aroma with time. It is not to be confused with spoiling. Instead, they lose their strength. With vanilla beans, you may experience the faded aroma and fragrance. You can discard them then if you want to derive the best results. After all, the scent is the quintessential thing in vanilla. 

How long do Vanilla Beans last?

How to tell if vanilla beans are bad

This question is tricky to answer. one can not say how many days on an exact count is applicable for the pods to use. However, if you buy them all from the supermarket, you can use those beans within the best by-date label. That date is a point to indicate how many days the pods will remain supreme in quality. 

The better you can store them, the longer they will remain intact and adhere to quality. In addition, they will stay fresh for an extended period if you can keep them properly. 

However, you should not fix that the beans are spoiled if it is past the prescribed date. You can still use that. But yes, like any other spice, it will lose its freshness and degrade in quality over the days. So you can use the beans even after the best-by date if they have not grown mold. 

That being said, vanilla beans remain intact for about two years. 

How to tell if Beans are spoiled?

How to tell if vanilla beans are bad

There are a few points with which you can identify if your beans are spoiled or not. First, sometimes people do not realize the spoiling issues and eat whatever they get their hands on. But that might cause problems for your health. So, knowing them beforehand is a wise decision. 

Vanilla beans go wrong and can create a lot of trouble when preparing a dish. The first spoilage point that you should be looking out for is mold. This thing generally happens in humid conditions. Meaning, if you keep the beans in a moisture condition for an extended period, there are fair chances that the pods will start growing mold. 

However, there are cases where people have mistaken the vanillin frost for mold. That should not be done. Only molded pods should be discarded.

That is the first enemy of your vanilla beans. Now comes the second one. The ultimate problems start to grow when you see the beans being dried out. Often this thing happens because of rare utility. However, one must remember that, unlike moldy pods, the dried ones are not dangerous or harmful to your health. You do not have to visit the doctor for having dried beans.

But the aroma and pungent taste fade away when you use dried vanilla beans. Now, this factor is to be decided by you. If you feel the fragrance and flavor of the fried bean are okay for you to use, you may use them. Otherwise, you can discard it. 

How to store Vanilla Beans?

How to tell if vanilla beans are bad

Just like all other spices in the world, vanilla beans are also stored in some specific methods. These can increase their shelf life. If you do not know the tips to keep vanilla beans properly, here are some for you. 

First of all, sealing is healing! If you can seal the beans and store them, the shelf life increases incredibly. Try to take plastic wraps or wax wraps and fill the pods correctly so that air can not get into them. You may use aluminum foil as well. 

The method prevents the bacteria of open-air from getting into the pods. That being said, the beans need to be exposed to air as well. That means being sealed all the time will eventually spoil the pods. So, make sure you expose them to air once in a while. For example, unwrap the vanilla pods once a few weeks and let them sit in the air for about fifteen minutes. This way, the air can circulate and can keep the beans intact. 

Try to use a container while storing the sealed beans. An excellent, dry, and dark place is ideal for your beans to stay in proper condition. However, you can not freeze the pods. 


 Here are some additional storage tips for you: 

  • Vanilla extract

This is the best way to store vanilla beans when you are not using them for a while. In case you do not know how to make vanilla extract at home, here is a quick and easy recipe for you. 

  1. Take the vanilla beans and cut them open from the middle. It would be best if you exposed the seed of the pod—no need to cut and divide it fully. If you can not put the beans open, then make small pieces of the pod. 
  2. Take a bottle or a jar and add six slit beans to it. If they do not fit, cut them into even smaller pieces.
  3. Pour one standard cup of vodka into it. Please take care of the vodka level in the jar because submerging the beans to get the authentic flavors. 
  4. Give the jar a good shake after sealing it and use it.
    This homemade vanilla extract is okay to use for two years. 
  • Grinding the vanilla beans is another method   

In this way, the shelf life of the beans increases drastically. Next, what you need to do is, you have to dry out the beans. No amount of moisture should be in the beans. After drying, take the beans into a grinder and grind them to make power.

You may use the oven for the drying process. The powder produced by this process is flavorful, and one teaspoon full of it is enough for making any dish. Whatever you do, the essential part is to seal them all in an airtight container. Otherwise, your vanilla pods might be contaminated.

  • This is not precisely a storage tip. But you can prepare vanilla-flavored sugar to extend its shelf life

Here is the procedure of it in a nutshell: take two or three beans and keep them in the jar of caster sugar. The sugar will start to smell like vanilla. But remember, if you take out the beans, the flavor will also go. 

Freezing Vanilla Beans: can you do it?

This is something that every foodie or kitchen enthusiast out there is eager to know. Now, we have had experienced people telling us that vanilla beans last longer at room temperature. Hence, there is no such need to freeze the beans. If they can stay intact at room temperature, no extra caution is needed.  

However, some people have tried to stoke the vanilla pods in the freezer. The method has its pros and cons. And the primary concern that comes to the latter is being exposed to moisture. Once the humidity gets to crawl inside, your beans are more likely to grow mold. That is why it is better to avoid a freezer for this purpose.

Even if you keep them, make sure you keep them in airtight freezer bags. Do not let any moisture component ruin the beans. You may wrap them in paper towels and then store them if you wish. Another safe method will be to wrap them in a tea towel or paper towel prior to freezing so that every humid component goes out. 

Vanilla ice cream at home, recipe

What is the first dish that comes to your mind while speaking of vanilla? Isn’t it a scoop of tasty ice cream? I know, you must be craving for some. you know what, buying from oiut=side is okay, but what if you can make some at your home?

In case you think this is mission impossible, let me share my recipe for vanilla ice cream. Hold tight!


For making vanilla ice cream, you will need 

  • 1-liter milk
  • Two teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornflour


Once you are done collecting all th\e ingredients, we are ready to move on with the process.

  1. First, take a small container and take one teaspoon full of cornflour. Add four tablespoons of milk into it and start stirring. Make a thick paste. Ensure you use cold milk; otherwise, lumps can be formed, and once done with the mixture, set that aside. 
  2. Now, take a large bowl and add milk to it. Heat and stir it until it reduces to half. This process will add creaminess to your ice cream. 
  3. Add sugar to the milk and heat it well.
  4. Once the consistency thickens, add the cornflour mixture to the large bowl and start mixing again. Make sure you constantly stir the milk. Otherwise, it will burn and stick to the bottom of the vessel. And that is probably the last thing you want as a dessert- burnt ice cream!
  5. Now, after the consistency of the mic=xture is just right, it is time for you to add fresh cream to the mixture. Add it and stir well.
  6. Now comes the big boss of our recipe-vanilla essence. Pour the vanilla essence into the mixture and mix it well.
  7. After mixing, turn the flame off and transfer it to an aluminum container. Seal the container with aluminum foil and let it freeze for almost six hours or until it is semi-set. 
  8. After the first layer is done, it is time to set your ice cream for the final time. Take out the semi-set ice cream and mix it thoroughly. Make sure it is smooth enough.
  9. Once done, transfer it to an aluminum container and seal it like it was previously. Then, for the final time, set it in the freezer for ten hours.
  10. Take out the bowl after ten hours and scoop your ice cream. Enjoy it with crispy waffles.

Final thoughts

Like all other spices in the world, Vanilla beans can also spoil and lose their strength over time. But what people don’t realize is their spoilage points.

Some confuse the crystals of vanilla beans with molds, whereas some others consume molded vanilla, thinking it is alright to consume that. This should not be done. Your stomach can be upset for several days if you consume spoiled vanilla.

Hence know the hints of spoilage and try to mark them out. Also, the storing tips provided in the above article will help you a lot to extend the shelf life of vanilla beans. Now. you should know to tell if vanilla beans are bad and to extend their life span. Apply the hacks and enjoy the aromatic spice to the fullest. 

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