When stored correctly, vanilla beans, will actually improve their quality over time. Because it's unlikely that you will able to find the 'ideal' conditions, following these guidelines will keep your vanilla in excellent condition:
Keep beans in a dark place - never refrigerate or freeze. Ideally in a temperature range between 15 – 18 degrees C
Tightly triple wrap in cling film or if you are lucky enough to have a vacuum packer, vacuum pack them in small lots, squeezing out as much air as possible.
Store these wrapped packages in an airtight container.
Vanilla should be aired regularly, we recommend about 6 times a year. Remove the beans from the container and wrapping to allow them to breathe for about 15 minutes. Re-wrap the beans after airing.
Be cautioned that what looks like 'mould' may actually be the valuable 'caviar' content of the bean that has crystallized on the outer skin - in this case do not disturb as this indicates that the beans are high in natural vanillin and are very good quality. If you are uncertain whether the beans are covered in with crystals or mould. The crystals are similar to mineral crystals and will reflect the sunlight, creating the colours of the rainbow, mould however will not. If mould appears, discard the beans, as they will contaminate good beans and may become a health hazard.
Correctly stored beans may be kept for up to 2 years. However, we recommend buying quantities of beans that you will use within a year.