Who doesn’t love Vanilla Extract, afterall, it is famous for its adaptable flavourings all over the world. And so, I always look forward to keeping it safe from its expiration! But, wonder if vanilla extract actually goes bad?
So, I thought to find more details about it and luckily, figured out the shelf life of vanilla is pretty much indispensable. In addition, if it’s a pure vanilla extract, then it is said to have an indefinite shelf life. Thus, A bottle of pure vanilla extract can be used for years and years even after its expiration date.
Moreover, it is compared with a fine bottle of wine because it also gets mature and develops a better flavour over a long period of time and that is because of the alcohol content, which evaporates each time you open the bottle and makes the flavour become more intense just like wine.
Fascinating right! Not only that, I gathered some more facts and found out that Vanilla extract was introduced in 1874 in Indonesia Vanilla is extracted from tropical vanilla orchids, and the beans of vanilla are emaciated or macerated into the solution of water and ethyl alcohol, which has a bitter taste if not mixed with flavours.
It is researched by the Graduate Program in Food Science and Technology in The Ohio State University (Reference link 1) that Vanilla has a very versatile flavour that is acceptable at almost any concentration hence it is used readily in the food, beverage, cosmetic, and tobacco industries.
With all the details mentioned, if this time you found an old bottle of vanilla extracts in your pantry while collecting the ingredients, don’t throw it away. But to be safe, you may consider some warning signs and be sure about its taste!
4 Warning Signs That Your Vanilla Extract Go Bad
If you are looking for signs of your vanilla extract going bad, then you should first know whether the extracsst you’ve bought is pure vanilla extract or a synthetic imitation of it. Sometimes pure extract tastes way different than synthetic ones and that can be the reason that your vanilla extract is tasting a bit different than the regular one.
The synthetic extract is used by most confectioners and it is perfectly fine to use any of them but knowing the difference can save you a fortune. But if you still can’t find what’s wrong with your vanilla extract then here are some warning signs that it might have gone bad. Although it is very unlikely to get spoiled.
- If you open the bottle of vanilla extractss and it doesn’t smell like its usual self then you should probably discard it.
- If you notice any changes in the liquid, like the change in colour or the change in the inconsistency of the liquid like some kind of cloudy textures in it, then you should discard it.
- If it develops any kind of mould or other microbial bacteria then you try to put it in a freezer and if it still doesn’t get normal then you should discard it.
- There is one thing to keep in mind is that the smell of the pure extract and the synthetic imitation is different so check before you throw it away.
When Does Open Vanilla Extract Go Bad?
If you have an opened bottle of vanilla extracts then it will be safe if you store it in the right manner because the shelf life of an opened bottle depends mostly on the storage conditions. If you store the pure vanilla extract properly then as mentioned above it has indefinite shelf life. If it is synthetic imitation then it will go by the expiration written on it but if it is stored correctly, then it can last six to seven months longer than the mentioned date.
So, here are some tips to store vanilla extract.
- Best temperature to store vanilla extract is room temperature, so store it in pantry, cabinet or in the kitchen cupboard away from wet places.
- If you have an opened bottle then store the leftover extract in the dark bottle to protect it from light which can affect its quality or you can also store it in small bottles.
- You should make sure to tightly seal the cap of the bottle so that the alcohol and other substance inside can stay intact.
When Unopened Does Vanilla Extract Go Bad ?
As mentioned above, the pure vanilla extract is pretty much indefinite, even if it is synthetic imitation it does go way longer than the expiration date. So, an unopened old bottle of vanilla extract should not be the problem unless it has the above warning signs.
And tips to store an unopened vanilla extracts is not much different than opened one but if there one more thing to take care of is that keep the vanilla extracts away from heat sources like kitchen appliances, or any source of moisture and light so that it can stay safe for the longer time in your pantry or cabinet.
What Happens If You Use Expired Vanilla Extract ?
You don’t have to worry about the expired vanilla extract because it really doesn’t affect your health. The expired vanilla extracts will go beyond its expiration date till six to seven months and if you find any odd taste in your food then either that is the pure vanilla you’ve bought by mistake or it might have been spoiled.
So, to avoid anything like that check the product before you buy it and discard if it has been actually spoiled.
Pro-tip To Extend The Life Of Vanilla Extract
- Store it in a dark bottle
- Keep it away from heat
- Seal the lid tightly so that it will not lose its flavour
- Avoid heat, light and keep it away from wet places
More detailed tips are given above to store your opened or unopened bottle.
Q1. Does Pure Vanilla Extract Go Bad?
Ans. Apparently, the answer to this question is No! pure vanilla extracts does not go bad. It is said to be indefinite.
Q2. Should you refrigerate vanilla extract?
Ans. If you want to preserve your vanilla extract for a long time then No you should not store vanilla extracts in the refrigerator as the high alcohol content doesn’t allow it to freeze in low temperature so, putting it in the fridge is not exactly a good idea.
Q3. Can a 1 year old have vanilla extract?
Ans. Vanilla extracts has alcohol content which is not healthy for a one year old but you feed them vanilla flavoured baby food.
Note: All these reference links are mentioned here so that readers get the assurance that the information they have been provided with are accurate and well researched.
1) The Ohio State University: Analysis on vanilla extract compounds
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