Where do Vanilla Beans come from and where can I procure them?
Vanilla beans come from orchid flowers and their main production places are Madagascar, Tahiti & Mexico, though they can also be found in India & Indonesia. Vanilla beans grow on the vine and are green in colour and once the colour changes to yellow they are harvested. In Mexico, they are wrapped in blankets and straw mats and are kept in oven for 24- 48 hours where they lose the yellow colour and attain the brown colour ,flavor and aroma of Vanilla. While in Madagascar, the pollination mostly includes hand pollination and then they are boiled in water for a short time and kept in sweat boxes. Eventually the cured beans are sun dried and packed at night.
Procuring of Vanilla beans is easy now a days. Many online portals can help in procuring the beans. Dr Vanilla will soon be launching the best premium quality Vanilla beans. But if you want them immediately, we would recommend you to get in touch with the farmers who prepare them from scratch to avoid middlemen and extra expenses related to it.
How can I store Vanilla beans and keep them fresh for a long time?
Most of the times vanilla beans will be delivered in vacuum sealed bags. Airtight containers, zip lock bags all are great alternatives, but we would recommend you to plastic wrap or wax wrap the beans and store them in a dry place away from sunlight.
How can I maintain the stored Vanilla beans and increase their shelf life?
When Vanilla beans are stored at right temperature and moisture levels away from sunlight, it can stay intact for over 3 years(Best Before). But it is equally important to buy good beans without compromising the quality which can directly affect the shelf life.
The best way to improve the shelf life of vanilla is by keeping them or “airing them” at times like once in every month for 10 minutes to prevent them from drying out.
My Vanilla beans are dried out can I use them?
Definitely! You can use Vanilla beans if they have dried out, just soak them in warm water for a duration depending on the level of dryness and it should help to regain back the moisture required.
Can I use half of the bean and save the rest?
Absolutely. But make sure to save the other half as mentioned above, in air tight containers so as to avoid the moisture and preventing them from rotting.
How do I know my Vanilla bean has gone bad?
Vanilla beans become moldy when kept in humid conditions, mold may appear as fuzzy or spongey spots, so it is best advised to not use the rotten or expired vanilla beans considering the health aspect.