How long does pure vanilla extract last? Vanilla is a common and most preferred flavor amongst children and adults.
The taste is overwhelming and leaves you wanting more. However, where does vanilla extract come from?
Vanilla extract is gotten by infusing vanilla bean pods in a mixture of ethanol and water, which is less processed and has a stronger flavor.
It is mostly used as an ingredient in desserts, cakes, brownies, and especially ICE CREAM!
It may or may not be colorless depending on the method of extraction.
You can get pure vanilla extract here at the amazon stores at affordable rates
The storage and shelf life of this amazing substance is what I’m here to make you understand better
Ranging from how long does pure vanilla extract last unopened? how to store this pure substance and how to tell if the pure vanilla extract is bad.
Read more and don’t skip a line!
So, how long does pure vanilla extract last unopened?
It can last for a very long time if properly stored but it will be in its best condition from when it is extracted for 10 more years. Do not refrigerate or freeze even after opening and store away from light, air, and heat.
The pure vanilla extract must have vanilla beans, water, and alcohol as its ingredient.
It is more expensive than imitation extract.
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What Is Vanilla Extract Imitation Made Up Of?
Vanilla extract imitation is made up of the three necessary ingredients of vanilla extract – vanilla beans, alcohol, and water – together with other flavorings which now makes it artificial or imitation.
It is made with synthetic vanillin gotten from wood pulp, refined combined petrochemicals, and reacts them all to oxygen.
The ingredients vary, but they most times include; water, vanillin from wood pulp, synthetic alcohol, caramel coloring, and corn syrup.
Vanilla extract imitation is made from petrochemicals and has an aftertaste of chemicals while the natural flavor is made from plants, otherwise, there is no unhealthiness.
It is not as expensive as natural or pure vanilla extract.
How Long Does Vanilla Extract Last After Expiration Date?
The duration of vanilla extract will depend on the method of extraction and mode of storage.
If properly stored, it can last for five years still intact in its flavor, color, and taste.
Pure vanilla extract will last indefinitely after the best-before date, but it is best consumed within 5 years. Imitation vanilla extract will last 2 to 4 years after the expiration. Vanilla beans will last one year or more after the expiration date.
Do not freeze or refrigerate this product. For proper storage, it should be re-sealed tightly immediately after use.
It is safe to use provided the extract is stored properly and undamaged.
How Long Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?
Homemade vanilla extract will last indefinitely, especially when made with dedication, patience, and quality. Although the flavor might only reduce a bit over time, it is still safe for consumption.
To preserve it longer, keep it sealed and stored away from sunlight.
The use of alcohol – vodka, rum, bourbon, or brandy- elongates the life span of vanilla extract.
With the addition of alcohol as a base, it can keep for an indefinite period of time.
Another thing that will make homemade vanilla extract last longer, is using an accurate measure of vanilla beans and alcohol,
And being patient enough to allow it to submerge and absorb.
This will last about 6 to 12 months and even more. Give it a shake every once a week.
Are Vanilla Extract And Imitation The Same?
The answer is No! Pure vanilla contains beans, water, and alcohol without extra flavors, whereas imitation extract contains a bunch of flavors in them and uses synthetic vanillin rather than vanilla beans.
Imitation vanilla is gotten from imitation ingredients and chemicals.
However, both can be swapped for the other when baking or making delicious desserts.
The differences between both are that; pure vanilla is more expensive than imitation vanilla.
Pure extract lasts longer when it has no added ingredients.
The pure extract does not contain colorings, preservatives, or additives.
Imitation vanilla is either derived naturally from wood pulp or artificially from vanillin synthesized in the lab.
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Why Does Vanilla Extract Contain Alcohol?
It can be used as a form of preservative or a means of extraction.
This is to enable the flavor compounds to mix properly to form the extract.
The alcohol seeps out the flavor and oil-producing a flavored extract.
The required percentage of alcohol is not less than 35%.
Although the extract can be extracted without alcohol, it will be slow and ineffective.
Vanilla extract with alcohol will have a reduced content of alcohol after baking because the high temperature during baking will make the alcohol evaporate
But the flavor will still remain intact.
Alcohol-free vanilla is sweeter and flavors but has less vanilla aroma compared to pure vanilla extract.
How Long Does Pure Vanilla Extract Last After Opening?
Pure vanilla extract can last for many years due to its alcohol content which serves as a preservative. Using the best-by date, it may become of less quality when it exceeds the period but the shell life ranges from 6 to 12 months.
If stored properly, it will stay longer but the quality will diminish gradually.
So long as they are stored properly and not kept in the refrigerator, they will be in good condition for a long period of time.
Are Vanilla Extract And Vanilla Flavour The Same?
The answer is no! They are both made using vanilla beans but some differences exist between them
The extract must contain alcohol for it to qualify as an extract while the flavor is not an extract and does not contain alcohol in its ingredients.
Its extract uses natural ingredients while the flavor uses artificial ingredients.
The extract uses vanilla beans and alcohol, its flavor uses corn syrup, lignin, and synthetic vanillin.
Its extract is made by soaking the beans in alcohol for a long period of time while the flavor is gotten from squeezing the ingredient and oil from vanilla beans.
The flavor is the real flavor in vanilla, grown on vanilla genu while its extract refers to the main substance itself that produces the flavor.
The flavor contains glycerin rather than alcohol which is found in the extract.
What Type Of Alcohol Is used In Rodelle Vanilla Extract?
Rodelle Vanilla Extract uses ethyl alcohol gotten from corn and it is without corn protein or gluten.
It uses green vanilla beans grown on vanilla orchids that are hand pollinated and processed by curing. It offers a rich flavor.
This type has no added sugar and the beans are left to soak in alcohol.
Rodelle Extract is not 100% pure vanilla. This makes it budget-friendly.
The percentage of alcohol in Rodelle Vanilla Extract is 35%.
Alcohols that can be used in making vanilla extract are; Captain Morgan rum which is not found in liquor stores.
It is best found in grocery stores.
Rum-based vanilla extract brings out the sweetness in ice cream, desserts, and other dishes.
It is perfect for cooler times of the year.
Vodka is another advantageous alcohol because it has no smell or taste or cloudiness.
Whiskey and particularly Bourbon is sweeter than Vodka but not as sweet as rum.
It is clear just like Vodka and excellent in making extracts.
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Should Vanilla Extract Be Refrigerated?
The answer is no. Do not refrigerate or freeze before and after opening. The temperature of the fridge is too cold for extracts, it will cause them to become cloudy.
Rather than refrigerating, store in a cool, dark place away from heat or light.
Too cold areas like refrigerators will decrease the taste and flavor of the extract.
The beans should not be stored in the fridge or freezer as well.
It will dry, rot and become hard.
It should be stored in a glass bottle and kept in a cool, dry area at room temperature.
All baking ingredients are required to be at room temperature, only vanilla paste can be stored in a refrigerator.
Vanilla paste is a mixture of vanilla extract and vanilla bean powder.
How Long Does Rodelle Vanilla Extract Last?
Rodelle Vanilla can last indefinitely if you keep it well at room temperature, in an air-tight bottle, and in a cool dry place away from heat and sunlight.
It is however advisable to use within 5 years in order to obtain the highest quality of aroma and flavor.
Do not refrigerate this at any cost.
How Long Does Artificial Vanilla Extract Last?
The artificial vanilla extract should last for as long as 3 to 4 years in its best quality. If it stays longer, it may reduce in taste and flavor.
It may not be totally unsafe but the quality will be affected and the end result will not be too pleasant as was expected.
In order to maximize its duration, store it properly in a cool environment, in a tightly sealable container.
Why Does Some Vanilla Extract Contain Sweeteners?
Sweeteners help to suspend the flavors. Also, the beans are not fully sweet, hence there is a need for sweeteners.
Moreover, a vanilla extract without sweetener will appear cloudy.
It can involve a small portion of sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup.
Is It Okay To Use Expired Vanilla Extract?
The answer is no! It is considered unsafe and unhealthy. However, Vanilla extract does not really get expired due to its alcohol base of not less than 35% which preserves it indefinitely.
And if you keep it properly, it will keep its flavor and taste and still be safe for consumption.
Only if it overstays or is improperly stored then, it can go bad.
An example is storing it in an uncovered bottle, exposing it to air and heat, and light.
Vanilla extract will not likely expire compared to vanilla beans.
If the extract is giving off awful smells and flavors, then it is expired and not meant to be used.
Can I Make My Own Vanilla Extract Using Beans?
The perfect answer is yes! Only Vodka and Vanilla beans are needed. All you need to do is infuse the split beans in vodka and leave for the period between 8 weeks and 12 months.
Shake once every week.
It is very budget-friendly compared to store-bought and the quality will be much better.
This is because it is your personal product and not some bulk commercial goods.
You don’t need an expensive brand of alcohol or flavored ones.
This is because flavored alcohol will alter the vanilla taste and initial plan of ‘homemade’ extract.
After extraction, store in a bottle with a tight lid.
The beans can be reused again if it does not dissolve totally into the alcohol.
How Can You Tell If It Has Gone Bad?
Here is how to tell if your pure extract is heading south;
In this case, the nose will figure this out. The sweet smell and flavor will be no more, and the extract may appear cloudy.
There will be a change in the consistency of liquid to either more watery or more thick.
To prevent all of these, store properly and use within 5 – 10 years.
How To Store?
Store in a sealed container and keep in a dark, dry place away from heat and light.
Most preferably, in the cupboard or pantry.
Heat and sunlight will hasten the process of flavor loss.
Storing in a dark-colored bottle is also a good storage practice.
In conclusion, over 70% of people especially children love and consume vanilla more than all other flavours put together.
Hence, this article will make you keep it in abundance.
You asked and we answered the question of how long does pure vanilla extract last?
Adhere to the storage and shelf life hacks above. And watch your product wax stronger and safer in the storage place