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How to Cure Vanilla Beans, Part 2

In Part 1, I explained how to har­vest and pre­pare the beans for cur­ing, and what equip­ment you’ll need. Next, we’ll go through how to sweat, dry and age the beans.

The Sweat Cycle

Following from the pre­vi­ous tuto­r­i­al, your beans are now in the warm sweat box.

The beans are going to stay in the sweat box for 48 hours at first. Use the ther­mome­ter to watch the tem­per­a­ture in the zone where the beans are. The opti­mal tem­per­a­ture is 115℉, so the clos­er it stays to that temp, the bet­ter. Lower tem­per­a­tures are OK, but once it gets into the low 90s, refill the water jugs.

This may be the most chal­leng­ing part of the process to get right, but remem­ber that hav­ing it drop into the 80s is not a big deal, it just will slow things down. Do your best to keep the temps up, but don’t wor­ry about it.

The beans will become sticky and wet in the bag. This is what we’re look­ing for, it’s the sweat.

Once the 48 hours (or so–no need to be exact) is up, we cycle the beans through the dehy­dra­tor. Take your beans out of the bag and spread onto your dehy­dra­tor shelves. Turn the dehy­dra­tor to 115℉ and leave the beans in there for an hour or so. The stick­i­ness should dry some…probably not all the way dry for the first few cycles.

Refill the hot water jugs with hot water.

After the hour of dehy­drat­ing, put the beans back into their bag (don’t be tempt­ed to replace, wash or dry the bag, just re-use the wet bag), and then into the sweat box.

While the first sweat cycle is 48 hours, all sub­se­quent sweat cycles will be 24 hours until the sweat­ing is done. Between each cycle is 1 hour in the dehy­dra­tor. The effect of this is a very slow dry­ing while the beans are sweat­ing. This is part­ly to pre­vent rot­ting with all that warmth and moisture.

Once you’re into the sweat by a week, it becomes less crit­i­cal that you do the dry cycle every 24 hours. Skipping a day is not a big deal. The tem­per­a­ture needs to stay near the opti­mal 115℉ as much as pos­si­ble the whole time, however.

In our oper­a­tion here, we use a elec­tri­cal­ly heat­ed sweat box, much like an incu­ba­tor, so the tem­per­a­ture con­trol is automatic.

Completing the Sweat

The sweat is going to take 18 days from when you first put the beans into the sweat box. In that time, the col­or will turn from green to a light green­ish brown and final­ly to brown. The aro­ma of the beans will go from sharp and flo­ral at first, to a kind of (what I call) “leath­ery” smell. It won’t so much smell of vanil­la until the end of the sweat­ing period. 

The beans may be a bit oily (the “oil” is real­ly glu­cose) to the touch at the end of the 18 days, and they will have begun to shrink and get lon­gi­tu­di­nal wrin­kles. These wrin­kles are some­thing you are going to focus on when assess­ing the progress of a bean as it cures.

Drying the Beans

The next stage is slow­ly dry­ing the beans until they reach the desired mois­ture lev­el. This can take any­where from 3 weeks (for small­er beans) to 2 months to complete.

How you do the dry­ing depends on what sit­u­a­tion you can arrange for the beans. Here in Hawaii, we dry them out­doors on a dry­ing rack that is ele­vat­ed (on a roof) and pro­tect­ed from the rain and sun. Depending on your cir­cum­stances, there are sev­er­al ways you can do the drying.

We want to dry the beans very slow­ly to get the best qual­i­ty. This allows any remain­ing vanillin reac­tions to com­plete with­in the bean. It also helps ensure that we don’t overdry the beans. The sweat has con­di­tioned the beans so they are pre­served and sta­ble as far as spoilage is con­cerned, so we are not in a hur­ry to dry them.

The impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tions for dry­ing vanil­la are:

  • Clean, dry environment
  • Undisturbed for sev­er­al weeks
  • Plenty of air circulation

Here are some ideas for setups for dry­ing the beans:

  • Indoors on dehy­dra­tor shelves placed on a laun­dry rack or wire shelf 
  • Outdoors on a sim­i­lar set­up, but away from the ground or over con­crete, such as on a patio. Keep them high off the ground and don’t let the dry­ing beans get wet.
  • Solar dehy­dra­tor not in the sun, sim­i­lar loca­tion: high off the ground or over con­crete, this is to avoid dew, which comes up from the ground.
  • Dehydrator with fan on and heat off. Drying will hap­pen much more quick­ly, watch them closely. 

Checking the Beans’ Moisture Level

The dry­ing process will need to con­tin­ue as long as it takes for each bean to reach the desired mois­ture lev­el. Each bean will dry at its own rate, so you will need to check on them fre­quent­ly. Beans that are done are put into a sealed plas­tic bag.

To check the mois­ture lev­el, look close­ly at the wrin­kled sur­face of the bean. While a bean is dry­ing, there will be wrin­kles with smooth bean sur­face between them. As they dry, the width of the smooth sur­face between the wrin­kles gets small­er. A ful­ly-dried bean will have lit­tle or no smooth areas between the wrin­kles: it will be all wrinkles.

You can feel the dry­ness as well. This takes some expe­ri­ence to get right, but you can squeeze the bean between your fin­gers to get a sense of what the mois­ture lev­el inside is. What I look for is some­thing like what you’d expect a soft dried fruit (such as an apri­cot) to feel like. As it dries, it will stop feel­ing slip­pery inside the bean and instead it will be a lit­tle firm yet still supple.

The col­or is anoth­er way to gauge the dry­ness: it will get dark­er, usu­al­ly going from dark brown to almost black. This is not a reli­able test, how­ev­er, as it is nor­mal for the bean col­or to vary depend­ing on a lot of fac­tors. Your beans may start out light brown and get dark­er, but only to a dark brown.

If the beans stay light brown, that is a qual­i­ty issue. They will feel slight­ly hol­low inside and dry on the sur­face. A bean like this is still usable, but it won’t have the fla­vor inten­si­ty of a good qual­i­ty bean. The usu­al rea­son for this con­di­tion is an under-ripened bean.

Conditioning the Beans

Once the beans are dried, the final stage is to age or “con­di­tion” them for a while. As explained above, we place the dried beans in a sealed plas­tic bag once the fin­ish dry­ing. Label the bag with the date of the last bean to go in there.

The beans should con­di­tion for at least 3 months after dry­ing. This is where the fla­vor and aro­ma set­tles in and sta­bi­lizes. Since the beans are togeth­er in a sealed con­tain­er, the mois­ture and aro­ma equal­izes, and you end up with a more con­sis­tent cure.

After the 3‑month con­di­tion­ing, the beans are done and can be han­dled like any vanil­la bean. They should be kept in a sealed con­tain­er and will keep indef­i­nite­ly that way. This is also when you will select out your beans for mak­ing extract.

Extract beans tend to be dry­er, so select out all the beans that are firm, and not as sup­ple. Also any small beans or beans that are split more than 1/2 inch. These beans are used to make your extract.

So that’s it, if you’re grow­ing vanil­la, you can use this tuto­r­i­al to cure them for max­i­mum fla­vor devel­op­ment and best bean con­di­tion while pre­vent­ing mold.

85 thoughts on “How to Cure Vanilla Beans, Part 2

  1. […] the next part, we get into how to com­plete the sweat­ing process and how to dry and age the […]

    1. Hi Roland. Thank you for shar­ing all of the trea­sures that you know about cur­ing of the vanil­la beans. This was my 4th year of giv­ing it a go. I found your instruc­tions and are in the process of going through that. The oth­er 3 failed as the beans were either com­plete­ly dried out, or went mouldy. So far I have just com­plet­ed the 18 days of sweat­ing. So far they look and smell amaz­ing. I live new Mackay, Australia, so our cli­mate here can be very humid.
      I just want­ed to say a big thank you for shar­ing your knowl­edge. Desley

      1. Hi Desley, You’re wel­come, I’m glad to hear the infor­ma­tion has been help­ful. So much of what you need to know is gained by expe­ri­ence, so hope­ful­ly, it all adds up to result­ing in excel­lent qual­i­ty vanil­la! Best of luck with your vanilla!

      2. hi my name is kym i bought a prop­er­ty in inn­is­fail and i just have over 1000 plants i am panic­ing on my cur­ing and dry­ing process you sound like you got it i would love to hear from you with any info

        1. My first sug­ges­tion is you buy and read The Vanilla Handbook by Piero Banchessi, this is the author­i­ta­tive guide for small-scale vanil­la pro­duc­tion. A thou­sand plants is not exact­ly small scale, but this book will give you the knowl­edge you’ll need to go into pro­duc­tion with your vanil­la. The link I pro­vid­ed will take you to where you can pur­chase the book, I strong­ly rec­om­mend you do so.

          In the short term, I’d sug­gest you read my arti­cles on cur­ing vanil­la if you haven’t already. If you’ve got spe­cif­ic ques­tions, let me know.

          Best of luck with your new vanil­la farm! I’d love to hear how things go for you!

    2. Roland thank you for this tuto­r­i­al. It is the best info that I found as a begin­ner. My vanil­la plant start­ed just 18 months before from a cut­ting of a very mature plant gave me 10 flow­ers. I man­aged to get 7 beans to ripen and then had no idea how to cure. I am now to the end of the 18 day sweat and they are look­ing good! Thanks!

      1. I’m hap­py to hear it was help­ful. Good luck with your cure!

  2. Thank you for the great tuto­r­i­al! I was search­ing for how to cure vanil­la beans and came across this one. Pics of ripe beans helped me tremen­dous­ly since this is the first crop of vanil­la beans. A freez­er, cool­er with jugs of hot water, a dehy­dra­tor and best of all clear instruc­tions seems very doable and makes bet­ter sense than oth­er sources I read

    We only had sev­en beans to har­vest, the pol­li­nat­ing learn­ing curve was quite steep and we wast­ed so many orchids until we fig­ured it out. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’m in Florida, zone 10a.

    1. I’m glad to hear from you, Rhonda, please let us know how it all turns out. 7 beans is plen­ty to start with!

      1. Roland, your tuto­r­i­al has been great and I link to it often in my gar­den­ing groups. 

        We’ve gone from the first year with sev­en beans to 17 last year and now 57 beans this year. We have pol­li­na­tion down! We are still using the water jug/cooler set up but are think­ing about mak­ing the sweat box.

        We are grow­ing v. plan­i­fo­lia vines, have a v. pom­pona that should be flow­er­ing with­in a year or so and FL native V. phaean­tha vines new this past year. It’s been a fun and edu­ca­tion­al jour­ney. Thank you for help­ing us along the way!

        1. You’re wel­come, hap­py to share my expe­ri­ence. I’d be inter­est­ed to how how your Pompona vines are doing.

  3. GREAT tuto­r­i­al! Easy to under­stand instruc­tions and I appre­ci­at­ed the pho­to of what the ripe beans should look like. I live in Pepe’ekeo on the Big Island. I’m just har­vest­ing my first suc­cess­ful crop. I have prob­a­bly 200 beans. The online tuto­ri­als I looked at for pol­li­nat­ing were less than stel­lar. (It took me YEARS to fig­ure that out) I have 30 plants that are 4 years old. I am thor­ough­ly enjoy­ing this new found hobby.
    A hui Hou.
    Lynn Lincoln

    1. Hi Lynn, that’s pret­ty impres­sive, you’ve got a lot of vanil­la grow­ing! I appre­ci­ate your com­ments, hard to tell how well I’ve con­veyed the information.

      I know what you mean about the pol­li­na­tion, even with all the videos out there, it took us a while to get it. Best of luck with your crop!

  4. [url=][img][/img][/url]

    I’m keep­ing my cool­er with the jugs of water between 104–120 degrees and re-heat the water while I have the beans in the dehy­dra­tor. I bought a wire­less refrig­er­a­tor thermometer/monitor so I don’t loose heat when check­ing the temp. 

    The beans have turned brown and the lon­gi­tu­di­nal wrin­kles are start­ing to appear. 18 days will be next Friday. I’m lean­ing towards dry­ing them in the dehy­dra­tor. How much quick­er will they dry?

    1. I can’t say with much accu­ra­cy how fast they will dry in your dehy­dra­tor, but you will want to check them every day. Keep it on the low­est pos­si­ble heat. Smaller beans might take a cou­ple days, large beans could be a week. You’ll just have to mon­i­tor them close­ly and get them out when they are done to avoid over-dry­ing them.

  5. Aloha Roland, maha­lo for shar­ing this infor­ma­tion. Can you give more details about your elec­tri­cal­ly heat­ed sweat box please.

    1. I could write a whole arti­cle on this, explain­ing how to build it and where to get the parts. Briefly, it is a well-insu­lat­ed cool­er with a cou­ple of sol­id-state heat­ing ele­ments and an elec­tron­ic tem­per­a­ture control. 

      You can do some­thing sim­pler with a heat­ing pad (com­mon­ly avail­able at a drug­store) that has a tem­per­a­ture con­trol and a ther­mome­ter. I sug­gest you test the tem­per­a­ture to get the right set­ting before putting the beans right on the pad. You’re look­ing for 115℉ 

      If you’re inter­est­ed in how to build a sweat box like I use, I’ll write that up, it would be good content.

    2. I use a lit­tle cool­er. I placed an old elec­tric heat­ing pad with the cov­er removed, a old fold­ed wet hand tow­el on the bot­tom, anoth­er tow­el and my bag of “killed” vanil­la beans. The heat­ing pad stays on and the temp is a con­sis­tent 115°F. I didn’t under­stand the impor­tance of sweat­ing last year and my vanil­la beans were dry and woody, not fra­grant and moist. Lesson learned! Thank you for the great tutorial!

      1. Good luck with your bean cur­ing, Renate!

  6. Would def­i­nite­ly love to hear more about build­ing a sweat box like you use!
    Will try ther­mo­stat and heat­ing pad in the mean time.
    Mahalo for your excel­lent posts.

    1. You’re wel­come!

  7. Could you use a food dehy­dra­tor for a sweat box?

    1. I doubt it…the envi­ron­ment should be warm and moist. Your beans are in plas­tic bags, but the mov­ing air will still remove mois­ture from the beans (plas­tic bags are slight­ly porous) and dry them too quickly.

  8. With your much appre­ci­at­ed help, Roland, I am near­ly through the sweat­ing process and about to dry my first batch of beans. I was­n’t lov­ing the cool­er & hot water jug set­up, and since the beans are in a sealed plas­tic bag when they’re not in the dehy­dra­tor, I’ve been using my Anova sous vide set up to keep them at a steady 115 degrees. I dou­ble bagged them & don’t wor­ry about get­ting all the air out, just enough to keep them sub­merged. It seems to be work­ing. Still, I look for­ward to see­ing your sweat box post when it comes out.

    I live on Oahu’s east side, and have 13 beans, rang­ing in size from skin­ny 4″ to plump 8″. This whole endeav­or is a won­der­ful learn­ing expe­ri­ence and I hope to have 2 vines flow­er­ing this year. That would keep me busy!



  9. Hi Roland,
    Great “How To” infor­ma­tion with sim­ple expla­na­tions and your respons­es to Replies answered one of my ques­tions. Thanks for that!
    I’m about three weeks out since the end of bloom pol­li­na­tion. Many of the first flow­ers I pol­li­nat­ed, the beans are already 6″- 8″ long and 1/2″ wide. Is this nor­mal? I pol­li­nat­ed my first bloom just 2 months ago and I’m read­ing it’s a 9 month long grow­ing process. My prob­lem is a few of the largest beans and a few small­er are brown­ing at the tip and then some are turn­ing a bit yel­low. Just this week I col­lect­ed 8–10 beans that where on the ground (squir­rel or heavy rain) and I’m using your process to do some­thing with the beans oth­er than toss them in the garbage. With only 100 beans set I’m afraid I’ll have noth­ing left after 9 months. I’m a treat­ment free bee­keep­er and I was hop­ing to use the beans to infuse my bees hon­ey this year. I don’t treat with pes­ti­cide or fungi­cide so that leaves me lit­tle hope for any har­vest if this is a dis­ease prob­lem. I’m about 100 mi north of 27deg. lat­i­tude (the sweet spot) in zone 9b in Clearwater, Fl. Any sug­ges­tions would be helpful.

    1. Hi Tim,

      It is nor­mal for the beans to put on size pret­ty quick­ly after pol­li­na­tion. Within a cou­ple of weeks, you’re see­ing most of the full size the bean is going to achieve. After that, it changes lit­tle for the 9–10 months until it ripens.

      If the beans you pol­li­nat­ed this year are turn­ing yel­low already, that is not right, those beans are fail­ing and won’t be cur­able. However, be care­ful, because it’s nor­mal for the flow­er­ing and new beans to be com­ing in before all of the pre­vi­ous year’s beans have ripened…so there can be some over­lap. It may be your yel­low­ing beans are actu­al­ly last year’s ripen­ing beans…ready to har­vest and cure.

      If the yel­low­ing beans are indeed this year’s beans, it’s not good, but I’ve nev­er seen any­thing like that, so I don’t know what the issue is. We grow a lot of plants, so we see a fair amount of things not going right, but I’ve nev­er seen that. If you’ve got an agri­cul­tur­al exten­sion agent you can talk to, that might be a good idea.

      If you want to send a pho­to of the beans you’re con­cerned about, I will take a look and maybe have some idea what’s going on…[email protected]

      1. I live south of the OP in FL and had the same thing hap­pen last year. I would find slight­ly yel­lowed beans that had fall­en to the ground, around 30% of the beans we pol­li­nat­ed. The beans falling off hap­pened ear­ly in the sea­son, not lat­er on.I haven’t seen any yet this year, but it may be too soon. We fin­ished pol­li­nat­ing The last orchids two weeks ago.

        1. Interesting…is it pos­si­ble this was due to cold weather?

  10. Aloha Roland,
    The vines on my vanil­la orchids are turn­ing brown in small sec­tions through­out my green­house. All of a sud­den there is a 3 inch sec­tion that has turned brown and with time it atro­phy’s into a dead area area and even­tu­al­ly the rest of the vine dies. This hap­pened once last year but only to one orchid. It was at the end of a row and was being exposed to direct sun at that time and I wrote it off to sun­burn. Now it is hap­pen­ing through­out the green­house. A cou­ple of weeks ago I had to replace the green­house (shade screen) my vanil­la orchids are under. They were exposed to direct sun for almost two days. The top leaves got burned, died and shriv­eled up. Is this what is hap­pen­ing to the vine or could it be some­thing else?

    1. Hi Linda,

      From you descrip­tion, I agree it’s prob­a­bly not sun­burn, which tends to hap­pen in patch­es on the leaves or just with gen­er­al yel­low­ing of the exposed parts. 

      What you’re describ­ing could be necro­sis caused by a virus. I’m not real­ly qual­i­fied to diag­nose, but I’ve seen this before and it’s impor­tant you take steps to pre­vent spread­ing it around. If you can remove the affect­ed plant or plants, that will help a lot. They should be destroyed or at least dis­posed of some­where far from oth­er vanil­la plants. Also, cut­ting tools can trans­mit it to oth­er vanil­la plants, so ster­il­ize your clip­pers (you can use a bleach solu­tion) after using them to cut affect­ed plants.

      Once you’ve removed the affect­ed plants, you’ll need to keep an eye out for more of it appearing.

      You can find out more from online resources such as this:

      1. Aloha Roland,
        This is just an fyi from my pre­vi­ous let­ter to you. 

        I took some of the affect­ed plants to the U of H in Hilo and found out it was a virus, Cymbidium Mosaic Virus, that I acci­den­tal­ly trans­ferred from my orna­men­tal orchids. Live and learn…

        I har­vest­ed 25 lbs of beans this year. The first three days the heat was too high. About 140 degrees. Have I done irrepara­ble harm to the beans?

        1. Well, that’s too bad, but at least you know what happened.

          25 lbs. is pret­ty good! I doubt the high temp ruined the beans, but you’ll know in a few days as the aro­ma develops.

  11. Hola Roland, I am at the very begin­ning stages so I appre­ci­ate your insight and every­one’s com­ments. You men­tioned cold weath­er. In S. Florida we get cold snaps. My vines will be out­side under a shade house. Is there some­thing more I should do to keep the vines from “freez­ing?”
    You also men­tioned dry­ing the beans out­side on your roof to pro­tect it from the sun and rain. Could you can take a pic­ture of your dry­ing rack on the roof? Any chance you can make videos and post them to youtube?
    Thank you,

    1. A fair­ly easy way to pro­tect the plants from cold is to put up wind bar­ri­ers so that cold air can’t blow through. It won’t pro­tect them from a seri­ous cold snap, though.

      Yes, I need to include a pic­ture of the dry­ing racks, good idea. I am plan­ning to do a video about cur­ing the beans soon.

  12. Roland,
    I have noticed some of my vanil­la beans start­ing to turn yel­low after only 3–4 months. They haven’t fall­en off the raceme and are still attached. Is this a famil­iar prob­lem, and what can I do about it. Vines are 5 years old, and have been looped back into the ground sev­er­al times. Beans were pol­li­nat­ed in April.

    1. Hi Charlie,

      I have heard of this hap­pen­ing for grow­ers in Florida, I’ve had sev­er­al grow­ers ask me about this, but I don’t know the rea­son. I don’t see any­thing about this in my agri­cul­tur­al man­u­als, the next log­i­cal step would be to con­tact the Ag exten­sion of the University of Florida to find some­one knowl­edge­able to ask about this spe­cif­ic issue. I haven’t seen any­thing about it in the pub­lished lit­er­a­ture on the site.

  13. Hello,
    First of all, thank you for the amaz­ing website.

    I have a sil­ly ques­tion. When you dis­cuss sweat­ing the beans in a 1 gal­lon bag is the bag sealed or open?

    I have my first beans com­ing in this year on Ohau and don’t want to goof them up.



    1. Hi Dominick,

      I seal the bags, gen­tly press­ing out some of the air first. You want the sweat to coat all the beans, so keep­ing in all the mois­ture will help with that. After the first two days, they should be pret­ty sticky in there…that is good, you want that. The stick­i­ness will fade as the cur­ing con­tin­ues, but the beans will stay a bit oily to the touch. That is a sign things are going well.


  14. Hi Roland,
    I,m from Malaysia.
    Thanks for your won­der­ful Website.
    Normally ‚what is the dry­ing ratio of green Vanilla bean to a cured dry vanil­la bean ?


    1. In gen­er­al, you’re going to get 30% of your green har­vest weight in cured beans. So if you har­vest 1000Kg, you’ll have about 300Kg of cured beans. This does not take grad­ing into account, once the beans are grad­ed, it will be less…but that real­ly depends on a lot of fac­tors, so it’s hard to say what that will be.

      For cal­cu­lat­ing the mois­ture con­tent of a vanil­la bean, we assume the mois­ture con­tent of the green bean at 81% which means that a 10g green bean has 8.1g of water, so if it is cured to a 30% mois­ture con­tent, it will weigh 1.9g (dry weight) + 2.43g (30% of the water) or 4.33g.

  15. Aloha Roland
    Trish from Big Island.

    I’m wait­ing for my beans to ripen on the vine.
    How yel­low should they be for me to pick before freezing?

    I have sweat box set up.
    Please clarify:
    After freez­ing for at least 24 hours I place beans in the zipped plas­tic zip lock bags on top of towels .
    How many in 1 gal bag?

    Can I stack bags?


    1. I’m in the same boat in Waialua (oahu). Some beans are kin­da yel­low, but most are not. I may have to wait for 1 to split before I pick them all.

      1. Yes, def­i­nite­ly let them ful­ly ripen, but you don’t pick them all at once. You pick each one as it ripens.

    2. I’ve got a pic­ture here that shows ripe beans. I wait until the tip is yel­low (some­times is it real­ly just light green) and I can see the lit­tle “mouth” where the bean is going to split open. If it starts to split, it’s ready, pick it right away.

      The rea­son I rec­om­mend freez­ing for small har­vests is so you can keep putting your har­vest­ed beans into the freez­er until all the beans are har­vest­ed. You can use a gal­lon ziplock bag for that, and when the bag is full, you can start sweat­ing those beans. So there’s no set time, just keep putting them in the freez­er until your ziplock is full or the plants are done and you’ve har­vest­ed all your beans. The beans can stay in the freez­er as long as you need until you’re ready to sweat them.

      The impor­tant thing about this is that the sweat will go a lot bet­ter if you’re cur­ing at least 1 pound of beans. Sweating a small quan­ti­ty of beans does­n’t work too well, so the idea is to keep freez­ing the beans as they are har­vest­ed until there is enough to sweat.

      We don’t freeze our beans because each day’s har­vest is usu­al­ly more than enough to cure. What we do instead is “scald” the beans in hot water to prep them for sweat­ing. It has a sim­i­lar effect on start­ing the enzy­mat­ic process, but it’s a lot faster and more prac­ti­cal for a large quantity.

      So, on the sweat, yes you can stack the bags. When we are in full swing, we have two cool­ers full of sweat­ing beans. We put a date on the bag so we know how long each bag of beans has been sweat­ing. We stack them so that the newest beans are on the bottom.

      When we cycle the beans through the dehy­dra­tor, we are care­ful to keep each bag of beans sep­a­rate (the dehy­dra­tor shelf is labeled with the date also) so we always know how long each batch has been sweating.


  16. Thanks so much for the won­der­ful infor­ma­tion. This is my first year so I only have 9 beans. Can I use my oven if I don’t have a dehydrator?

    1. Probably best not to, real­ly the most impor­tant thing in dry­ing the beans it air cir­cu­la­tion. So, it would be bet­ter to sun dry them in a way that lets plen­ty of air cir­cu­late around the beans. 

      The sweat is also impor­tant, so putting them in a plas­tic bag in the sun will work for that part, but it needs to stay warm. You’re not going to leave them in the bag all the time, just most of the day, take them out of the bag for a few hours in the hottest part of the day.

      Honestly it is very hard to get good results with such a small batch, just do your best. A food dehy­dra­tor is pret­ty much a require­ment for good results, I’ve found.

  17. Thanks for this excel­lent how-to on cur­ing vanil­la. I grow my vanil­la in a green­house in Oregon, and (after hav­ing the plant more than 25 years, grown most­ly in a sun­ny win­dow of my house) it start­ed bloom­ing about 4 years ago, after I built the green­house and moved it in there, where it grows in quite bright light, right up under the glass along the rafters. In April of 2020, after watch­ing a Youtube video, I was suc­cess­ful at actu­al­ly pol­li­nat­ing 4 of 5 blooms, which I har­vest­ed on January 25, 2021. The “beans” seem quite large com­pared to what I’ve seen on the inter­net, the largest 59 grams and the small­est 37 grams. (194 grams total) I har­vest­ed them all at once (they were all near­ly iden­ti­cal in terms of chang­ing to a dis­tinct­ly more yel­low­ish col­or, over the course of only about a week.) I then blanched them in 160F water for 3 min­utes. They are in a ziplock bag in the 4th day of the sweat, which is in a Yeti “cool­er” with 7 gal­lons of hot water in jugs, which has been main­tain­ing the tem­per­a­ture between about 105 and 120F, chang­ing at least some of the water once or twice a day to keep the tem­per­a­ture in that range. I’m try­ing to keep from peek­ing, which drops the tem­per­a­ture a degree or two each time I look. They have turned to an oily, deep brown and are def­i­nite­ly devel­op­ing the vanil­la scent. So far, so good, and trans­form­ing just as you said.

    1. Wow, that’s great, Steve. Thanks for shar­ing your sto­ry. I’d long won­dered if grow­ing vanil­la in a green­house could be suc­cess­ful, and it sounds like you’re doing it! 

      I would advise you to start slow­ly dry­ing your beans, they may start to rot if you don’t. I take mine out of the sweat box (and out of their plas­tic bag) and put them in an elec­tric food dehy­dra­tor for an hour each day so they dry out very slow­ly while sweat­ing. The mois­ture begins to dry onto the sur­face of the bean, cre­at­ing a pro­tec­tive layer.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I have been putting the pods in a food dehy­dra­tor at 115F for about an hour each day, start­ing after 48 hours in the sweat box. At first I was dis­ap­point­ed that they did­n’t seem to be dry­ing, then looked back here to real­ize this isn’t the stage I’m actu­al­ly try­ing to dry them. While they look a lit­tle less oily at the end of the hour, they aren’t devel­op­ing the dry­ing creas­es yet, and are only a gram or two less weight than when I start­ed. I looked at lots of Youtube videos and arti­cles (and an 1898 Britannica Encyclopedia arti­cle), and your descrip­tion is the clear­est at explain­ing just what it is I’m try­ing to do. Is the 18 day peri­od in the sweat box fixed in stone? Since my seed pods seem so large com­pared to oth­ers I’ve seen, I won­der if they might need more time in the sweat box to com­plete this part of the cur­ing? My plant was a cut­ting from an exper­i­men­tal green­house at Oregon State University when my niece worked in the green­house in 1990. While it was labeled V. plan­i­fo­lia, the leaves are larg­er and slight­ly more heart shaped, and the vine thick­er than oth­er plants I’ve seen sold as V. plan­i­fo­lia.) Thanks again.

        1. The dry­ing process is quite slow and the creas­es won’t be seen for a week or so into the process, espe­cial­ly for a large bean. From your descrip­tion, your beans are indeed quite large, 15–20g is a typ­i­cal aver­age for a class I green bean.

          It is true that large beans could stand to sweat longer. In prac­tice, we don’t do that, it would com­pli­cate the cur­ing process too much con­sid­er­ing the vol­umes we deal with. We tend to over­sweat the small­er beans as a result. There’s no real draw­back to that as far as qual­i­ty is concerned. 

          In gen­er­al, you’re going to get about halfway to the final mois­ture con­tent in the sweat, then com­plete the dryng in an open air dry­er. In a tem­per­ate cli­mate, I’m not sure what that would mean. Outdoors the cold tem­per­a­tures won’t be help­ful, indoors the humid­i­ty can be quite low and they will dry more quick­ly than is desir­able. A very large bean would take well over 8 weeks to dry here.

          Since you know the start­ing weight, you can cal­cu­late the mois­ture con­tent of the bean as it dries with the knowl­edge that the ini­tial mois­ture con­tent is gen­er­al­ly 80%. Your tar­get mois­ture con­tent for tak­ing it out of the sweat would then be 60% and for fin­ish­ing the dry­ing process 30%.

          As to why your beans are so large, yes, you’ve prob­a­bly got some good genet­ics there. Generally, a large plant will pro­duce larg­er beans if there are few­er on the vine. In cul­ti­va­tion, we are care­ful not to pol­li­nate too many flow­ers so that the bean size stays large enough. So, it sounds like you’ve real­ly opti­mized that prin­ci­ple in your case.

  18. Hi Roland, Thanks so much for this won­der­ful tuto­r­i­al! This is my first time har­vest­ing and grow­ing vanil­la, and I have 29 beans. All of them were ripe when picked, but some of them I noticed too late and they split and start­ed to brown. Will they take a short­er time to cure? Is it best to sep­a­rate them?
    I just put them in all in the cool­er to sweat, but the ther­mome­ter seems to be increas­ing rather slow­ly, after 20 min­utes, it has only reached 89 degrees. I’m start­ing to think an elec­tric heater would be bet­ter, but I was curi­ous if there was a max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture the beans can sweat at? I have a few elec­tric heat­ing devices, but they don’t let me adjust the tem­per­a­ture. Thanks so much!

    1. You can actu­al­ly go quite high with the tem­per­a­ture, and if you’re not using an elec­tric heater, it’s prob­a­bly a good idea to use water jugs with water that is hot­ter than you need…like 120 or 130 degrees F. Some places sweat their beans at 160 degrees, so don’t wor­ry about it get­ting above the 115 degrees I recommend.

      You should not sep­a­rate the beans in the sweat, put them all togeth­er, you want as much bean mass as pos­si­ble (to a point, of course) in the sweat.

  19. HI, Roland. Back with an update/correction and a ques­tion about cal­cu­lat­ing the mois­ture con­tent I’m aim­ing for.

    It turns out, I now think my plant was mis­la­beled, and is actu­al­ly V. pom­pona, rather than V. plan­i­fo­lia. Another mem­ber of the Oregon Orchid Society con­sult­ed with a per­son he knew more knowl­edge­able than I (and show­ing her pic­tures of my plant and beans) who thought it was actu­al­ly V. pom­pona. After some more review of inter­net pic­tures, it cer­tain­ly looks like the thick­er stems, leaves and beans are con­sis­tent with pom­pona (beans often look­ing like small bananas rather than green bean-look­ing seed pods of V. plan­i­fo­lia. So, would there be a dif­fer­ent cur­ing process for the two species? After 15 days of sweat­ing, my beans have only lost about 7 or 8% or their orig­i­nal weight with an hour a day in the food dehy­dra­tor at 115F. The char­ac­ter­is­tic vanil­la scent is devel­op­ing, and some creas­es indi­cat­ing dry­ing are appear­ing, but they aren’t any­where near approach­ing 60% mois­ture con­tent yet. I was think­ing I should prob­a­bly keep the sweat going until I get at least a lit­tle clos­er to the 60% mois­ture you men­tioned aim­ing for at the end of the sweat.

    The sec­ond part most like­ly illus­trates my math igno­rance, but, assum­ing 100g or fresh bean, of which ~ 80 g would be mois­ture, is the 30% mois­ture I’m aim­ing for at the end of the dry­ing cycle be rel­a­tive to the orig­i­nal weight ( that is, 20 g of dried mate­r­i­al and 30 g of water) for a final weight of 50 grams, or 30% mois­ture in the final prod­uct (that is, 20 g of “dry weight of the green pod, + 9 grams of mois­ture in the final dried bean, which would be 30% mois­ture of the 29 gram final weight? I’ve used 100 grams as an exam­ple, so grams would also be equal to per­cent­age. In oth­er words, when I’m done dry­ing would I have 29 g of dried beans or 50 g of dried beans. Or have I got­ten this so con­fused, I don’t have any idea of what I’m talk­ing about.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your guid­ance, This has been real­ly fun, and seems to be work­ing so far. I’d send pic­tures if I could fig­ure out how to attach them to this reply. I thought I had replied ask­ing these ques­tions a cou­ple of days ago, but appar­ent­ly did­n’t hit the “post” but­ton. Sorry if I did, and this is a dupli­cate post.


    1. I don’t have spe­cif­ic knowl­edge about cur­ing vanil­la pom­pona. I do car­ry the beans at times, and I have had con­ver­sa­tions with the grow­er about their process, but I don’t know some crit­i­cal details like how to know when the bean is ripe. The cur­ing process this grow­er in Peru uses is sim­i­lar to mine, but it takes longer, as the beans are quite a bit larg­er, about 3x the weight of plan­i­fo­lia pods. They have a very nice aro­ma, kind­of like vanil­la’s rough coun­try cousin.

      I wouold sug­gest you let the sweat­ing process con­tin­ue past the 18 days, per­haps giv­ing the dai­ly dry cycle a lit­tle more time to avoid them rot­ting. I would not wor­ry too much about how long it takes, as long as they are slow­ly dry­ing, evey­thing is going as it should.

      Calculating the mois­ture lev­el is pret­ty sim­ple once you get how it works. Key to the process is know­ing the ini­tial mois­ture lev­el. For pom­pona beans, I don’t know what that would be.

      How it works is this: at the 80% mois­ture lev­el (when the bean is first har­vest­ed) a bean weigh­ing 25g will have 25 × 0.8 or 20g grams of water and 25 — 20 or 5g dry weight. So, that same bean at 60% mois­ture lev­el would weigh (20 × 0.6) + 5 grams or 17g. The trick is know­ing the dry weight does­n’t change, only the water weight is chang­ing as the bean dries. 

      I would not sug­gest apply­ing this to a batch of beans, each bean will dry at its own rate, so the cal­cu­la­tion is only accu­rate for a sin­gle bean. Knowing the aver­age mois­ture lev­el won’t tell you if any one par­tic­u­lar bean is done.

      We don’t rou­tine­ly cal­cu­late the mois­ture lev­el like that, not prac­ti­cal with lots of beans, it’s done by feel. We’re look­ing for soft, but with­out a “slip­pery” feel­ing inside the bean, much like a dried fruit, like a soft dried apricot.

      1. P.S., I see you answered the ques­tion about how to cal­cu­late the mois­ture con­tent, that is that I’m aim­ing for 30% of the dry bean being water, not 30% of the orig­i­nal weight, and assum­ing the same cal­cu­la­tion applies to the 60% tar­get for the end of the sweat phase.
        Thanks again.

  20. Hello Roland,

    I’m only a few beans away from com­plet­ing my har­vest this year, so I tried to reread your tuto­ri­als to pre­pare for cur­ing and ran into a prob­lem. Clicking on the Read or Full Article options do noth­ing. I’ve tried on both Firefox and Safari, with­out suc­cess. Is there a prob­lem at your end? 


    1. Hi Carol,

      Yes, thanks for let­ting me know there was a prob­lem, I’ve fixed it, you will get the full arti­cle when you click on the arti­cle on the home page.

      1. Thank you!

  21. Thank you for your very infor­ma­tive post regard­ing vanil­la pods fer­men­ta­tion. Would like to know the pre­ferred vari­ety of vanil­la to plant.

    1. I’m no expert on this, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing there are only two types of vanil­la that are com­mer­cial­ly grown: bour­bon (vanil­la plan­i­fo­lia) and tahit­ian (vanil­la tahiten­sis). They both grow in sim­i­lar con­di­tions, so I would say that the chouce is based on what you plan to do with your vanilla. 

      If it’s for your own use, I’d sug­gest you try the two types and decide based on your preference. 

      If you are plan­ning to sell your vanil­la, the deci­sion would depend on your sales out­lets: if you’re work­ing with a buy­er, they will have a pref­er­ence. If you’re sell­ing local­ly or online, the most com­mon type for your region or coun­try would be a good choice because it would be a prod­uct that is famil­iar to your mar­ket. Globally, bour­bon is by far the most com­mon, but the mar­ket for tahit­ian vanil­la is also strong and growing.

      Most vanil­la grow­ers are obtain­ing their vanil­la cut­tings local­ly, so it will be what­ev­er type is local­ly available.

  22. Aloha Roland,

    This year went bet­ter than last year, in part I’m sure because I had a pound of beans instead of 13. And with a new tem­per­a­ture con­trolled dehy­dra­tor, I did­n’t over-dehy­drate the beans. However, after the final 3 months of cur­ing, my beans still lack the strong vanil­la odor they should exude. They are dark brown and pli­able, and they smell very pleas­ant, but more like fresh tobac­co and leather than vanil­la. With my new beans well on their way to matu­ri­ty, can you help me trou­bleshoot the most like­ly weak point in my cur­ing process? I hope the third time is the charm!


    1. Mine too.

      Sweated for 20 days at 50 degrees c, with an hour in the dehy­dra­tor each day. Then rack dried to prop­er appear­ance and pli­a­bil­i­ty. They look great, and vanil­la ice cream was good (but used 3 beans). Smell is very mild in a glass jar with about 60 of them in there.

    2. Aloha Carol,

      From your descrip­tion, there’s some chance the beans were har­vest­ed ear­ly. One of the things you will see if the beans are not ful­ly ripe is a lighter col­or and not as strong a vanil­la scent, lead­ing to the “tobac­co” aro­ma dom­i­nat­ing. It’s a good idea to wait to har­vest a bean until it’s real­ly ripe, just about to open…you can see the seam where the bean will split at the tip of the bean…that is a good sign to look for.

      Also, you don’t men­tion if you did the sweat…this is very impor­tant because it keeps the beans in the warm, moist envi­ron­ment need­ed for vanillin devel­op­ment before they are dried.

      It took us sev­er­al years to get the cur­ing process to where we were hap­py with it, it sounds like you’re get­ting it.

    3. Roland, I did the sweat and then main­tained 115 degrees through­out the sweat/dehydrate cycle, and air-dried in a pro­tect­ed out­side loca­tion before the final 3‑month con­di­tion­ing. I har­vest­ed the beans as tips yel­lowed, but this time I will be sure I can see the seam. Given the time frames involved, I can real­ly appre­ci­ate your per­se­ver­ance per­fect­ing your cur­ing sys­tem. Thank you for shar­ing it and guid­ing us through the process as we learn at home. Carol

      1. You’re wel­come, I’m hap­py to share what I’ve learned.

  23. Thanks for shar­ing this infor­ma­tion! I have a doubt, I’m just start­ing to learn the process. Should the vanil­la bag in the sweat box be closed, or should it be left open to absorb moisture?

    1. You want to keep the bag closed to retain the mois­ture in the beans while sweat­ing. That mois­ture is most­ly glu­cose, and it is an impor­tant part of get­ting a good cure.

  24. Roland, It is spring in Australia. I have beans on my vine. Should I be fer­til­iz­ing them now? If so with what please?
    Also should I be tak­ing cut­tings so I pro­duc­ing flowers?
    Thank you so much for your amaz­ing information .
    So thank you

    1. Hi Janine,

      I don’t fer­til­ize and I haven’t seen much in the agri­cul­tur­al lit­er­a­ture about fer­til­iz­ing vanil­la. Unless your plants are doing poor­ly, I would­n’t think it nec­es­sary. If you were to fer­til­ize, I’d say that foliar feed­ing is best, since vanil­la gets its nutri­ents out of the air, like most orchids.

      As to tak­ing cut­tings, I am doing that all year round because of how much growth we are see­ing in the vanillery. The plants will start to shade them­selves out if I don’t. Whether you need to do that or not real­ly depends on how much growth you have and how mature the plants are. I did­n’t need to prune much for the first 4 years.

      Pruning to stim­u­late flow­er­ing should be done about a month before you expect the flow­ers to begin appear­ing. For us, this is in February, typ­i­cal­ly about a month after the first beans start to ripen and we have begun harvesting.

      When you prune vanil­la you are only cut­ting off vine from the grow­ing tips, usu­al­ly about 3–4 feet of vine. Normally, you will nev­er prune the mature part of the vine.

  25. Roland -

    Thanks for tak­ing the time to write such clear guides! You are one of the best sources of info for us home­grow­ers, thank you!

    What are your thoughts on using a sous vide set­up to sweat the beans? I’m tempt­ed to try a batch of vac­u­um sealed beans in the sous vide for a longer sweat with­out the alter­nat­ing dry times, am I set­ting myself up for failure?

    — Brian

    1. Hi Brian,

      I have nev­er tried any­thing like that, but such exper­i­ments are how we learn new things. The tem­per­a­ture is not high enough to keep microbes from grow­ing, so there is some risk the beans will begin to rot or go sour. Also, there is keep­ing it all run­ning for many days. We do the sweat for 18 days. If you do decide to go ahead and try it, I would be very inter­est­ed to hear how it goes.

      One thought I had is if you used a ziplock freez­er bag (instead of a heat-sealed bag), you could open them up from time to time to see how they are doing or even take them out to dry a lit­tle if it seems things are not going well.

  26. Aloha from Oahu,
    I real­ly appre­ci­ate your shar­ing your process! I’ve read so many web­sites and books and have been mud­dling through for about 5 years, but I real­ly like your method because it’s appro­pri­ate for a small scale grow­er, unlike many of the oth­er resources I’ve found. 

    I used your descrip­tion of how to tell a bean is dry enough (like a dried apri­cot, not slip­pery), but then I put them into ziplock for the final cure and I’ve been hav­ing issues with mold. Not tons, but I check them week­ly and I’ve had to take out a few beans with a bit of white mold each time. Do you think this is an error in my sweat­ing or in my dry­ing stages? Any tips?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes, we’ve had prob­lems with white mold in the past, and it does hap­pen occa­sion­al­ly now. As you have sug­gest­ed, it’s real­ly get­ting a good sweat on the beans that pre­vents mold most effectively. 

      If you’re get­ting a good sheen on the beans, they will keep and not mold. You’ll know you’re on the right track with that if in the first cou­ple of days in the sweat, the beans have got­ten a bit goopy in their plas­tic bag. The goop is most­ly glu­cose and when you cycle the beans through the dehy­dra­tor, this dries onto the bean cre­at­ing a pro­tec­tive coating.

      Getting a good sweat crit­i­cal­ly depends on a good vol­ume of beans in the bag, should be at least 16 oz. of green beans per bag, 32 oz. is about perfect.

      However, even with a good sweat, you can get white mold. You’ll prob­a­bly see that this hap­pens on beans that were split, the split part of the bean will some­times have a dull appear­ance, and that can end up get­ting moldy. Also, if a bean is dull after sweat­ing and dry­ing, it has a ten­den­cy to mold. This can hap­pen if the bean was har­vest­ed before it was ful­ly ripe.

      The good news is that the white, fluffy mold does­n’t affect the fla­vor of the bean. When we encounter it, we cut that part of the bean off and dis­card it. The rest of the bean will be fine for mak­ing extract.

  27. thanks Roland for the detailed expla­na­tions. I have just bought cured beans from PNG and was won­der­ing if I need to dry them to use them or if I can use them as they are? (they are black and wrin­kled but soft with smooth parts in between the wrinkles).

    1. They will be ready to use. They need to be com­plete­ly cured in order to be shipped, oth­er­wise they might spoil. Properly cured beans will have some soft­ness to them still.

  28. First har­vest was last year, we had 72 beans; this year almost 300! Curing goes just fine the way you have out­lined the process — and thank you very much! I’m in Costa Rica on the south Pacific Coast at about 1800 feet asl. Last year as the orchids began to bloom, we had an inva­sion of ants. They ate through the base of the flower bracts and we lost many before they bloomed, and some after. There were a LOT of ants! We have about 20 plants draped over por­ro trees that take well to cop­pic­ing, so we can keep them low to the ground. These trees also are nitro­gen fix­ing trees. Do you fer­til­ize at all? Do you have any ant sug­ges­tions? (Not for the ants, for me!) I have also read that to freeze beans pri­or to start­ing the dur­ing process, they should be frozen at ‑70 C, some­thing I can’t achieve. So the next ques­tion is: How long have you suc­cess­ful­ly frozen them pri­or to start­ing the cure? Next year we expect more, so either I need to buy more dehy­dra­tors, or do this cure in two batch­es; per­haps more. (We had one plant this year with 60 beans.…)

    1. That’s an amaz­ing report, Dennis. I’ve nev­er heard of this issue with ants and that’s rough, ants are very dif­fi­cult to con­trol. My go to for ants is to try to get them to eat bait (with 0.5 to 1% borax) and destroy the colony, but that can be dif­fi­cult if the ants have mul­ti­ple food sources. We also depend a lot on liq­uid pep­per­mint soap (Dr. Bronner’s) for insect con­trol, a small amount in water sprayed on the plants is very dis­cour­ag­ing to all insects…you have to do it almost every day until they give up. Next flow­er­ing sea­son, I’d sug­gest you do some­thing like that right from the start of bud for­ma­tion (assum­ing this is when they begin to show up), they’re more like­ly to move to oth­er food sources if they can’t get established.

      For the vanil­la cur­ing, you could be ready to move to the next stage. The freez­ing method works good for small num­ber of vanil­la vines because it gives you a way to com­bine sev­er­al small har­vests into a batch large enough to cure. If you’ve got enough beans com­ing in per har­vest (like 500g or more), you can use the hot water scald method. The fresh­ly har­vest­ed beans are placed in 150°F (65°C) water for only 3 min­utes. This preps the beans for sweat­ing: they are drained and go into a plas­tic bag and into the sweat box, and from there the process is the same. This yields a bet­ter qual­i­ty cure, and is the method we use here.

      If you are freez­ing, you can keep them frozen for maybe 3 months, I would rec­om­mend they be processed as soon as all the beans are har­vest­ed. I had a friend give me some beans to cure that had been frozen for over 6 months, and they were dif­fi­cult to cure prop­er­ly and the qual­i­ty end­ed up being OK, but not great. I have nev­er heard of deep freez­ing, and it’s not clear to me how that would be prefer­able, although it’s worth not­ing that not freezng them hard enough (or let­ting the temp go above freez­ing at any time) would­n’t be good.

      A mid­dle ground on this for you would be to do 3–4 har­vests into the freez­er, then process those as a batch…this will avoid you need­ing to expand your sweat­ing and dehy­drat­ing capac­i­ty. You’ll end up doing sev­er­al batch­es, but they will be suc­ces­sive, and not all in the sweat­ing process at the same time.

      Loved hear­ing your suc­cess sto­ry, I’d love to hear how the cur­ing process went once they’re done.

      1. Roland, I under­stand that freez­ing the beans, albeit an easy way to batch process, leads to much low­er vanillin bean con­tent than blanch­ing. Do you concur?

        1. I don’t know what the num­bers on that are, but sub­jec­tive­ly it’s only some­what true. I’ve cured a lot of beans that have been frozen and they are good for per­son­al use, and have plen­ty of fra­grance. It’s a trade­off, because you’ll also not get the opti­mal cure if you try to cure too small a quan­ti­ty of fresh beans.

  29. Roland, thank you so much for your very infor­ma­tive web­site. I grew my vanil­la bean vine from a lit­tle sprout I bought at Disney Epcot, it was bare­ly an inch tall! It has now been 7 years and my vine is amaz­ing and final­ly start­ed to flower. After the stress of learn­ing how to pol­li­nate my orchids, I have 74 beans my 1st sea­son. I am into my 2nd week of sweat­ing using your hot water jug process, so far so good. 

    My ques­tion is about the use of a heat­ing pad. Do you put the beans direct­ly on the pad or to the side like the set­up is for using the gal­lon jugs.

    Thank you from Cocoa Beach, Florida.

    1. Hi Kem,

      Great news with your vanil­la plants matur­ing and get­ting a good harvest!

      How you need to deal with the heat­ing pad real­ly depends on how the pad works. If the sur­face of the pad does­n’t ever get above 120ºF you don’t need to wor­ry about the beans being in con­tact with it. This will depend on how the pad is designed to do its heat­ing cyclces (slow and steady or bursts of high heat, for exam­ple) If the pad is too hot dur­ing its heat­ing cycle, put a fold­ed tow­el on the pad under the vanil­la beans. Keep an eye on the temp in your box and the beans. You’ll know things are going well if the beans get kind­of gooey in their bag.

  30. Hi Roland,
    Sweating is going on well. I have com­plet­ed 8 days of sweat. I want­ed to post pic­tures of beans for you to check if things are pro­gress­ing well. Any email ID where I can post pic­tures for a check,


    1. Sure, I’m hap­py to take a look at it. What you should be see­ing is some mois­ture in the bag, it will be slight­ly thick and gooey. The dai­ly dry cycle should be coat­ing the beans with the glu­cose and they should be shiny in appear­ance. The smell at that stage should be a bit like vanil­la, but it will be earth­i­er, some­thing like wet leather or tobacco.

      You’ll want to keep going with the sweat for anoth­er 10 days.

      If you want to send pic­tures, my email is [email protected]

  31. Hi
    Thank you for that help­ful tuto­r­i­al. I live in FNQ Australia and har­vest­ed about a kg of beans from my vines. Previous years my vanil­la cur­ing was very much hit and miss. This year I fol­lowed all your steps and have now arrived at, where the beans are con­di­tioned. What tem­per­a­ture should they be kept in for that?
    regards Nadine

    1. Hi Nadine, con­grats on your suc­cess with the curing! 

      So, for con­di­tion­ing, we store the beans in gal­lon-size plas­tic bags in a weath­er-tight con­tain­er. This is kept in the house in a dark place, and we don’t use air con­di­tion­ing, so it will be humid and warm much of the time. The con­tain­er helps keep the humid­i­ty steady by not allow­ing out­side air in, this is impor­tant since even thick plas­tic bags are slight­ly per­me­able to air. You don’t want them dry­ing out at all. 

      If prop­er­ly cured, mold will not be a prob­lem, but I sug­gest you inspect the vanil­la at least once a month to make sure noth­ing is grow­ing in there.

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