Whether you purchase a three-bean jar or five pounds of vanilla beans, you may run into a storage problem. Storing vanilla beans is easy, and if done right can help your vanilla beans stay moist and supple for years.
The first tip is this: Keep the container the vanilla beans were sent to you in. Please don't throw away the glass bottle or even an opened vacuum-sealed bag that the vanilla beans were shipped in. The glass jar is the best container for your vanilla beans and even the vacuum-sealed bag is coated in the precious oils of the vanilla bean. So continue to store your vanilla beans in those containers.
If you have purchased vanilla beans that came in a glass jar, once you receive your beans, open the glass jar, take out the beans, and put them into a zip-lock bag, then put them back into the glass jar.
If you purchased a larger quantity, put the vacuum-sealed bag into a larger zip-lock bag. The double plastic bag will be sufficient in keeping your vanilla beans moist. If you want to go the extra mile and store your vanilla beans for an extended period of time, we definitely recommend purchasing a large glass or plastic jar.
The next necessity is to store your vanilla beans in a cool, dark place, but not in your refrigerator. (The refrigerator will dry out your vanilla beans and will not extend their shelf-life.)
Finally, if you have purchased a large number of vanilla beans, they should have come to you bundled. You may cut the string holding the beans together, but keep the vanilla beans tightly compressed together. This will help keep them moist, supple, and oily.
If your vanilla beans do end up drying out, you can rehydrate them by placing them in a small amount of alcohol (maybe a few ounces, just enough to cover the length of the bean in a bowl) for a few hours.
That's it! Enjoy those delicious vanilla beans!