Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more information about our products, shelf life, ingredients, availability and vanilla in the frequently asked questions below.

  • Availability

  • Product Information

  • Product Issues

  • Queen Company

  • Queen Vanilla

    • Why does your Red Label Vanilla say ‘Essence Extract’? Is it real vanilla extract?

      Our Red Label Vanilla is one of our oldest Vanilla products. For a long time, the term ‘essence’ implied the natural concentrated form of Vanilla. Over time, the term ‘extract’ has come to be used to describe pure vanilla instead. We keep the word essence on the label so that our long-standing customers still recognise this Vanilla as the one they have been buying for 30+ years, however this product is a true Vanilla Extract from premium quality Vanilla Beans.

    • Why are Vanilla Beans so expensive?

      The process to grow and cure Vanilla Beans is very time and labour intensive. It takes 3 years for a vanilla vine to bear fruit and once the vine flowers, each flower must be pollinated by hand within 12 hours of opening. After pollination, the vanilla pod will grow and take 9 months to reach maturity, at which point it must be hand picked at peak ripeness, right before the pod splits. After harvesting the vanilla pods, these green pods are then cured and stored for the Queen Vanilla flavour you know and love to develop. With more than 12 months needed to produce a single vanilla bean, it is a costly process but truly worth it for the wonderful flavour it brings to desserts and baking.

    • What is the shelf life of my Queen Vanilla product? How do I store it?

      Store all Queen Vanilla products, including Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Bean Pods in cool, dry conditions away from heat and sunlight, such as the pantry. Ensure the lid of the Vanilla Bean Paste is clean and screwed on properly and use a clean spoon to measure out the paste each time, which will help is keep to its full shelf life. There’s no need to store Queen Vanilla products in the freezer or refrigerator. Queen Vanilla Extracts and Vanilla Bean Pastes and Pods will keep for 4 years and 6 months.

    • How can I substitute another type of Vanilla product, such as Vanilla Bean Paste into a recipe that calls for Vanilla Extract or a whole Vanilla Bean?

      Here’s a handy reference to understand the differences in our vanilla products. Luckily it is hard to ‘overdo’ vanilla in recipes, so don’t worry if you add a little more than the recipe calls for.

    • What is Bourbon Vanilla?

      The use of the term ‘bourbon’ to describe a vanilla bean means that the bean is grown in Madagascar or other islands in the Indian Ocean, such as Comoros and Réunion. The term does not describe that the alcohol ‘Bourbon’ has been used, but instead is derived from the old name for Réunion, which was known as the Île Bourbon. Sometimes vanilla from this region is simply referred to as Bourbon Vanilla, other times Madagascan Bourbon Vanilla or simply Madagascan Vanilla. It is a strong, creamy, woody, intense vanilla that gives a wonderful vanilla flavour in all types of dishes.

    • What are the best way to use Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste, Vanilla Bean Pods?

      Vanilla Extract, Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Pods can all be used in a range of ways, while there is no absolute for each, here are a few ideas to make the most of these different vanilla types:

      • Vanilla Extract – Excellent for everyday baking such as cakes, biscuits, tarts, breads, pies and cooked dishes. Gives a pleasant, mild vanilla flavour.
      • Vanilla Bean Paste – Ideal for a strong, aromatic vanilla flavour in everyday baking such as cakes and biscuits. The vanilla bean seeds are especially pretty in cream-based treats such as buttercream icing, shortbread, custards, meringue and creme brulee. It is also delicious in smoothies and milkshakes.
      • Vanilla Bean Pods – Vanilla Bean Pods can be used in the same way as Vanilla Bean paste and are great for making home made vanilla sugar as well. Depending on the recipe, you might find our Vanilla Bean Paste gives a stronger vanilla flavour.
      • Vanilla Bean Grinder – Perfect for finishing cakes, desserts or even over coffee. The vanilla beans are lightly dried to allow for easy grinding.
    • Is Queen Vanilla Fairtrade?

      Our Fairtrade Vanilla Extract with Seeds is produced with Fairtrade certified vanilla. Fairtrade certification means farmers receive a higher dollar value for their crops and improved terms of trade, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for the future. Our Fairtrade Vanilla Extract offers our customers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their every day shopping.

    • Where can I learn more about your Vanilla Programs?

      Please discover more about Queen Vanilla and our Vanilla Programs over in the Queen Vanilla section.

  • Shelf Life & Storage

    • Storage – Vanilla

      Store all Queen Vanilla products, including Vanilla Bean Paste and Vanilla Bean Pods in cool, dry conditions away from heat and sunlight, such as the pantry. Ensure the lid of the Vanilla Bean Paste is clean and screwed on properly and use a clean spoon to measure out the paste each time, which will help is keep to its full shelf life. There’s no need to store Queen Vanilla products in the freezer or refrigerator.

    • Storage – Fondants and Icings

      Store unopened Fondant, Buttercream Icing and Royal Icing in cool, dry conditions away from sunlight, such as the pantry. If you have leftover fondant, wrap it in clingwrap and store in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a month. Opened, unprepared packets of Buttercream or Royal Icing can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 3 months, providing the product is within its best before period.

    • Storage – Colours, Extracts and Sugar Decorations

      Our Colours, Extracts and Sugar Decorations are best stored in cool, dry conditions away from sunlight such as the pantry, even after opening.

    • I can’t find a best before date listed on your product. Where is it?

      A lot of our products have a very long shelf life, meaning for a long time we didn’t label a best before date on them. Approximately 2 years ago we started labelling best before dates on our products to assist people in knowing how long to keep them for. Our Colours, Essences and Vanillas have a shelf life of approximately 4 years and 6 months. If you are unsure of when you purchased the product, it is probably best to discard it.