How long does vanilla extract last?
A half-full container of vanilla extract is in the kitchen cabinet. It was needed for baking but the recipe didn’t turn up as well as you had hoped. Now, you are starting to wonder if the extract is still good enough to be used. Thinking about how long does vanilla extract last? when did you buy it and how did you store it. Meanwhile, vanilla beans are the primary ingredient in vanilla extract, the beans infuse alcohol for a flavor extract. If you have vanilla beans at home here’s how long do vanilla beans last. Here is an article to help you answer all these questions and let you understand some important points to keep in mind to storing vanilla extract.
How is vanilla extract made? Does vanilla extract have alcohol?
First things first! How is vanilla extract made?
Natural extract is available at your local grocery store. It will be clearly marked with the country it was sourced from, but it tends to be more expensive. Vanilla orchids produce natural vanilla extract. When pollinated, the pods contain vanilla beans. “Pure Vanilla Extract” is made by soaking vanilla beans into an alcohol solution to extract it. The FDA states that vanilla extract must contain at least 35% alcohol and contain a minimum of 100 grams of vanilla beans per liter.
Madagascar and Indonesia produce most of the vanilla in the world, approximately 6,000 metric tons each year. Natural vanilla can also be found in Tahiti, China, and Mexico. The highest quality vanilla extract is from Madagascar. It has a complex, creamy, and sweet flavor that is aromatic and musky. This is great for desserts such as ice cream and cupcake frosting.
Maybe you bought pure extract for the first time, and don’t want it to go to waste. It is important to understand the shelf life and storage guidelines.
Storage Techniques And Shelf Life – How To Store Vanilla Extract?
It is not difficult to store this extract of vanilla beans. Temperature is everything. Room temperature or slightly lower is ideal. The pantry or kitchen can work. It is best to not refrigerate, or freeze the extract as it can affect its taste. Make sure the extract is not placed near heat sources.
The extract is sensitive to heat and doesn’t like light. A dark cabinet or spice drawer would be a good choice. The taste might become bitter if the extract is exposed to too much light.
Homemade Vanilla Extract – How long does homemade vanilla extract last?
Vanilla extract can be stored correctly and will last for a very long time. However, it is best to use it within five years to get the best flavor. Even after opening, do not refrigerate nor freeze the extract.
If you make a homemade extract with enough pure alcohol, it will last as long as the pure one. Depending on storage conditions, the pure homemade vanilla extract should last 5-10 years.
Imitation Vanilla Extract – How long does imitation vanilla extract last?
The imitation variety only contains vanillin. The pure extract contains many other compounds that give it a richer flavor and a more fragrant aroma. It is also more expensive because it takes longer to make. If the vanilla extract is not as expensive or the label does not say “pure vanilla extract”, it could be an imitation. You can use both types of vanilla extract, but it’s important to understand what you are dealing with.
Mexican Vanilla Extract – How long does Mexican vanilla extract last?
It’s important to know the quality of Mexican vanilla extract. The Mexican extract of high quality will last for 10 years while cheap Mexican vanilla extract might only last 2 years.
The only difference is that in Mexico the plant’s pollination is carried out by a bee, while in Madagascar humans must pollinate it, resulting in a higher price. It isn’t made with Bourbon whiskey, despite its name. Instead, the “Bourbon” designation refers to the place where these beans were grown.
The FDA advises consumers to be careful when purchasing vanilla from Mexico or other Latin American countries. Check the ingredient list for the vanilla beans. If the product says “tonka bean”, or has an inexact ingredient list, don’t purchase it.
Madagascar Vanilla Extract – How long does Madagascar vanilla extract last?
The majority of Madagascar extracts will last between 4 to 5 years. After 5 years, it may eventually lose its flavor and color. To extend the shelf life, store your Madagascar vanilla extract in a sealed container.
Expired Vanilla Extract – Can you get sick from expired vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract imitation comes with a shelf life of between 2 and 4 years. After that date, the solution will not become unsafe to use but it will begin to lose its quality (taste, smell, etc.
It is unlikely you will get sick from vanilla extract that has expired, but it is better to not eat it if it has. Vanilla extract can be stored for many years so it is unlikely to spoil. You can smell the vanilla extract if it is “off”, and you can notify your supplier immediately.
Opened Bottle Of Vanilla Extract – How to store vanilla extract after opening?
Vanilla extract is best stored at a cool to moderate room temperature (60-80°F) and in a dark environment. Kitchen cupboards are usually a great place to keep your vanilla extract, as long as you do not store it over a stove or near a heat source.
The vanilla extract should not be refrigerated after it has been opened. The extract will turn cloudy if it is exposed to colder temperatures. The same rules apply to imitation and pure vanilla extracts.
Signs Of Spoilage – How to know if vanilla extract is bad?
It doesn’t matter what vanilla extract you are talking about, it is unlikely that it will work. Both types – genuine and imitation – aren’t conducive to bacteria growth. It is unlikely that either type of dairy will spoil the same way as meat.
- If the liquid’s consistency or smell changes, you should throw it out. If your senses tell you something is not right with the solution, then get rid of it.
- Keep in mind that the taste and smell of pure extract and imitation can be quite different. If you have used the cheaper product all your life, and you now want to try the more expensive one, don’t be surprised if it tastes better.
- It is safe to use if the extract appears to be in good condition. However, this does not necessarily mean that the extract’s flavor will be satisfactory. This is where the real difference between synthetic and pure extracts comes in.
Vanilla extract imitation comes with a shelf life of between 2 and 4 years. The solution will not become unsafe after that date but it will begin to lose its quality (taste and fragrance). To make up for the flavor loss, you can add more extract to the solution if it has dropped slightly. It is better to throw it out if it is older than two years and it is still flavorful.
The pure form performs much better. It is very long-lasting due to its high alcohol content. Many brands claim it can last for years. Although there will still be a “best by” date on some labels, it is often because the law requires it. Even if your extract is well past the expiration date, it should still be fine, provided you took good care.