vanilla sugar smell

Hi there! Last month, I made some homemade vanilla sugar with fresh vanilla beans and sealed it up in a glass jar to season for a few months. Since the only lid I had was of questionable quality, I sealed the top of the jar with Press & Seal wrap and then screwed the lid on top of that.

Today I went to check my vanilla sugar and give it a good shake, but it had all clumped together and so I removed the lid and Press & Seal to stir it and noticed that there is a faint, off smell to the sugar. I can definitely smell the vanilla, but there's another, uglier scent there too, one that I can't quite put my finger on, but it's not nice.

What can I do? Is there a fix to this or do I have to scrap it all? Please help!

  • Posted by: Mari
  • September 24, 2018


Smaug September 25, 2018
Not necessarily a sign of mold, but it's always a good thing to check for if you have mysterious smells, especially if there's a sign of free moisture.. I know I've had trouble with it with dried peppers.
Nancy September 25, 2018
Yes, ok.
Smaug September 25, 2018
Is it possible that your vanilla bean is growing mold? Sounds like it must have been fairly moist for the sugar to clump.
Nancy September 25, 2018
Smaug - Vanilla beans do have their own moisture. I've made vanilla sugar and found the same clumping. Not necessarily indication of mold.
Mari - Look around the web, decided for this batch:
Others have found a similar odor problem. Some say it's from poor storage at the grocery store level, others suggest residue (of too much) pesticide as the cause of smell. Going further, some said taste was unaffected and used the sugar, others decided to ditch out of caution..
For futures, maybe find another store with better storage or quicker turnover of its products.
Nancy September 25, 2018
PS Sorry; line should have read:
"look around the web & decide for this batch"
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