If you are used for baking goods, then there is no donut that you have plenty of vanilla extract lying around. It’s one of the kitchen essentials. Having a lot of it ready at home is a good idea for future cooking projects. Well, until you ask yourself “Does vanilla extract go bad?”
This is why it’s important to know if Vanilla Extract Can Go Bad or Not, as well as the shelf life of vanilla extract so you can rest assured that you are using safe ingredients in your baking.
(Credit: Foodie Flavours)
Does Vanilla Extract Go Bad?
The answer to this requires us to research the type of extract we have. There are two types of extract: A real vanilla extract. And a synthetic one that has been made to mimic the smell and taste of vanilla so you can enjoy it easily and quickly.
However, both can last for a very long time, even indefinitely. This is because the extract is not a suitable area for bacteria to grow. Thus, you can be sure that the vanilla extract you are using is safe to consume. But not necessarily worth consuming.
What’s the difference between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract?
The difference between them might not be evident at first glance, but they are worlds apart in terms of taste.
(Image used under Creative Commons from: Brian Boucheron)
The imitation of the extract is simply one organic compound, called vanillin, which is responsible for the vanilla smell we love and enjoy. it’s made in a lab and is much cheaper to produce. This is why synthetic extracts are much cheaper and readily available.
The pure vanilla extract is made out of real vanilla beans, which are quite expensive. There are hundreds of compounds in that extract which is causing the pure extract to have much more depth in the taste that synthetic vanilla does not have.
The price is the reason why plenty of people use the imitation, pure vanilla extract is not cheap by any means and the imitation provides a good enough taste for most bakery needs.
However, the taste of the pure vanilla extract is undeniably better and is worth the investment. And as we advance in the article you will realize how much benefit you get from pure extract compared to the synthetic one.
How long Does Vanilla Extract last?
This is a good question, but the answer to it isn’t the most obvious one as it depends on a lot of factors.
(Credit: Brian Boucheron)
Synthetic vanilla extract can last around 2 to 4 years, but following the best-by date seems to be the best option so you can enjoy the vanilla in it’s the freshest form. It can last for months past the expiry date. But past that and it will easily degrade in quality and won’t be as tasty in your recipe.
Pure vanilla extract doesn’t follow the same rule since they are really rich in many compounds like alcohol that extend its shelf life to a lot. Some people claim that it can last forever, assuming it’s well sealed and not contaminated. And the best by date? No need to listen to it as it’s simply a requirement and not an actual date. Pure vanilla extract is good now as it was 5 years ago.
|Pure vanilla extract - unopened||Stays fine indefinitely|
|Pure vanilla extract - opened||Stays fine indefinitely|
|Imitation vanilla extract - unopened||6 – 12 months|
|Imitation vanilla extract - opened||6 – 12 months|
How to Store Vanilla Extract?
Knowing how to store your vanilla extract is essential, especially if you have the synthetic variant that degrades in quality the longer it’s stored. Storing vanilla extract is no brainer as it requires the minimum amount of effort in the storage.
(Credit: Marju Randmer)
Simply find a dark and safe place. It’s ideal at a temperature slightly below room temperature.
Do not freeze or refrigerate the vanilla extract as it ruins the taste of it. Simply keep it at room temperature.
How To Tell If Vanilla Extract Has Gone Bad?
Despite the fact that vanilla extract doesn’t actually go bad, but there are sure signs that the bottle of the extract isn’t the safest to consume.
(Credit: Bill Holsinger)
Seeing signs of growth in the extract is a sure sign that it might be the time to throw it away, and an off odor that is far from what you are used to is also enough to indicate that this extract has seen better days.
However, if you are used to the synthetic extracts, and decided to try a bottle of the pure extract, then don’t be too intimidated with the smell. As it’s natural for the pure extract to be far more powerful than the synthetic one.
Vanilla Extract Questions
If you happen to have a question concerning vanilla extract, then it’s a good idea to check this section with all of the commonly asked questions at hand.
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Can You Get sick from Expired Vanilla?
First of all, vanilla extract never goes bad unless contaminated. And even if it is contaminated, chances are, it will only taste bad, but it won’t cause you to be sick at all.
Can I use Expired imitation Vanilla?
Expired vanilla imitation is not the tastiest ever, but it can help if you can’t buy a new bottle. Just make sure to add more than the usual amount as it won’t be as strong as a brand new extract.
Can you Freeze Vanilla Extract?
No, and doing it will only make the matter worst and damage the extract according to Rodelle Kitchen FAQ.
Vanilla extract can help tons if you like vanilla-flavored bakery, but you have to make sure you are storing it well and knowing which type of extract you have. If you still feel suspicious of a bottle of vanilla extract, don’t hesitate to discard it especially if it’s imitation vanilla extract.
If you have any questions, make sure to leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading.