Step 5: Slow drying
The process for slow drying will vary from country to country, but for the most optimal outcome, you want to ensure a well-ventilated room maintained at around 35 oC and a humidity of 70%. The length of slow drying then again depends on the grade of the vanilla bean (see table 3). On the completion of the slow drying the bean will have its final appearance, a beautiful supple dark brown shining color with lots of aroma. The final moisture content is normally around 20 – 30%, but again depends on the country, soil, and drying process.
Step 6: Final conditioning
The dried beans are bundled and transferred to boxes (metal, wood, bamboo) lined with wax, where they are kept for a further 2 months. After this process the vanilla bean has shed an additional 3-5% in weight and will have attained its full taste and aroma. The final treated and dried vanilla bean will have lost 70 -85% in weight compared to the fresh green vanilla bean.
Step 7: Creation of vanilla extract
The final step, if one is aiming to make vanilla extract, is then to split the vanilla beans lengthwise and submerge them in alcohol (vodka, bourbon, rum, and more are used around the world). After a period of 8 weeks (give or take) you have beautiful vanilla extract.