It’s Nut Season!
Pecans seem to be a southern tradition; they are everywhere in Texas this time of year. I was given a wonderful gift – about 5 pounds of pecans – from a few new Texas friends’ pecan trees.
The shelf life for pecans is 6 months in the pantry and I’m quite certain that we will not be able to eat them all in that period of time. I can plan on extending their storage time up to two years by using a few simple storage methods.
All nuts have a different shelf life, which depends on the best buy date (if you are purchasing at the store), the type of nut and its oil content and how they are stored. Of course, nuts last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly.
Here are a few general storage guidelines from Eat By Date:
- -Opened packages will last for a shorter time, again depending on the variety.
- -Nuts usually have a best by date and not an expiration date, so you can safely use nuts in your favorite recipes even after the best by date.
- -As a rule, nuts that are purchased in their shell will last for a shorter period of time than those which have been shelled. This has a lot to do with the packaging and is true as long as the package is unopened.
- -Once the package has been opened, nuts with the shells intact will generally last for a longer period of time than those which were already shelled
- -Whole nuts last longer than chopped nuts.
- -Pecans, peanuts, and walnuts are more prone to spoiling. Cashews and almonds are the least prone to spoiling.
Good nuts gone bad. How to tell if nuts are bad, rotten or spoiled?
Your nose it the most reliable way to tell if a nut has gone bad. Rancid nuts smell. Some people have described the odor of spoiled nuts as like paint, old socks or crayons. Either way, your nose will know.
Rancid nuts will not necessarily be harmful or make you sick if you eat them, but there are some health risks associated with spoiled food. You might want to do further research by reading this article from Livestrong – Can You Get Sick from Eating Rancid Oil? http://www.livestrong.com/article/459786-can-you-get-sick-from-eating-rancid-oil/
Storing nuts to extend their shelf life
To extend the shelf life of most any kind of nut, kept them in the refrigerator. This is especially true of walnuts, pecans and cashews that become rancid quickly in warm environments.
Store them in tightly closed containers to keep out moisture and other contaminants. Think canning jar, FoodSaver, or plastic containers. This tight seal provides extra protection from odors leaking into the nuts and works especially well for walnuts and pecans.
Since opened packages of nuts last for a shorter period of time, if you buy a large bag re-seal them into smaller portions and keep them cold. Remember to mark the container with the date they were purchased.
Unsalted nuts stay fresher longer than salted nuts.
The most delicate and quickest expiring nuts are pine and pistachio. If you can’t find a date on your package, you can expect most shelled varieties to last about 2 years in the pantry and 3 years in the fridge.
For opened packages, it’s best to smell before serving, you wouldn’t want your creations ruined.
How long will nuts last?
Almonds last for 9-12 Months in the pantry, 1 Year in the fridge 2 Years in the freezer
Brazil Nuts last for 9 Months in the pantry, 1 Year in the fridge 1 Year in the freezer
Cashews last for 6-9 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 2 Years in the freezer
Hazelnuts last for 4-6 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 1 Year in the freezer
Macadamias last for 6-9 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 2 Years in the freezer
Peanuts last for 6-9 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 2 Years in the freezer
Pecans last for 6 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 2 Years in the freezer
Pine Nuts last for 1-2 Months in the pantry 3-4 Mo. in the fridge 5-6 Months in freezer
Pistachios last for 3 Months in the pantry –no benefit to fridge –no benefit to freezer
Walnuts last for 6 Months in the pantry 1 Year in the fridge 1-2 Years in the freezer
Storage in a nutshell
Before storing nuts: Wash if you want, but make sure they are completely dry before placing them in their containers.
Short term storage, up to three months: Store in the pantry.
Storage up to six months: Store in the refrigerator and keep away from other strong-smelling foods as the nuts will pick up their smells.
Longer term storage: Your freezer will keep nuts fresh up to a year (or even two).
See other How Do I Store That? posts on PreparednessMama