Sore nuts for up to three years with pro packing tips!
Let’s talk about nuts. Healthy and tasty, a variety of nuts is an essential addition to any pantry. As we’ll discuss in this article, nuts are also a good candidate for longer term storage. For storing nuts properly, however, you have to be sure to follow the right guidelines.
Why are nuts so healthy? Most nuts are a great source of several types of Omega oils. Omega is great for long term heart health.
Other nuts can be good for preventing certain diseases, such as diabetes or heart conditions. On top of that, they are super low in carbs while still delivering healthy fats. They are also packed with good doses of important nutrients, like fiber and protein.
The best nuts for your overall health and food storage
Generally speaking, the healthiest overall nuts are almonds. Conveniently, these also last the longest of nearly all types of nuts, making almonds a great candidate for storage.
Not too far behind on the health ladder are pistachios. These green goodies, in addition to the usual health benefits, contain a lot of great antioxidants and vitamin B. Vitamin B is super good for your cell metabolism. That might sound abstract, but it basically means it’ll keep you from getting sick. Not a bad idea in times like these!
Furthermore, pistachios also last really long when stored properly. If you have an opened package sitting on your shelf, they’re probably only good for a couple weeks. But in your refrigerator, they can last a year. In your freezer? Sometimes as long as three years!
Some other good nuts to mention when it comes to your overall health are walnuts and cashews. Walnuts are incredible sources of antioxidants and Omega-3. They also have certain anti-cancer properties, and are really good for maintaining a healthy gut.
Cashews are free of cholesterol and packed with fatty acids that promote heart health. If you’re a big peanut butter lover but need to watch your cholesterol, consider cashew spread instead. It’s easy to make, delicious, and a far healthier option than artery-clogging peanut butter. When it comes to nut storage, the spread will also last for a while too, particularly in the fridge.
Storing nuts for the holidays and beyond
The inspiration for this guide came from a recent pecan gift. Pecans are a wonderful southern tradition. All across the American south, candied pecans have been a staple dessert for generations.
You can make your own pretty easily with this recipe. In New Orleans, one of the greatest homemade sweets is chocolate pecan pie. Further west, pecans can be found almost everywhere in Texas, particularly in the holiday season. Recently 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. I’m quite certain that we will not be able to eat them all in that period of time. This year’s holiday season is well beyond that scope.
But there’s a solution that can get you saving up nuts better than a Christmas squirrel. I can plan on extending their storage time up to two years by using a few simple storage methods!
Not all nuts are made equal
All nuts have a different shelf life, which is easily determined by the “best by” date (if you are purchasing at the store). Keep in mind that with most nuts, you can give yourself an extra week leeway on top of the “best by” date.
Also factored in is the type of nut, its oil content, and how these nuts are stored. Of course, nuts last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. Follow our guidelines for how to squirrel away a wide selection of healthy and tasty nuts for the long term.
These could make great additions to your 3 month food supply. Consider this too: nuts are pretty light compared to most foods, especially when you consider the protein and nutrients packed in. Any variety of nuts would make a great addition to your 72 hour emergency food kit.
And remember, also mark down the expiration dates of these and other ingredients so that you can use up and rotate your kit supplies.
Nut storing guidelines: the basics
- Opened packages will last for a shorter time, again depending on the variety. You should usually consume an open pack of nuts within one to two weeks. Remember, almonds last the longest.
- Nuts usually have a best by date instead of 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.
- Paradoxically as it sounds, 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 always last longer than chopped nuts. Just like with the packaging and shell rule, this has to do with oxygen exposure reducing the shelf life.
Good nuts gone bad. How can I tell if nuts are bad, rotten or spoiled?
First of all, rancid nuts taste bad. The nut itself will often feel too greasy, or have a strange color. Before you even get to that tasting point, it’s good to give the nuts a smell. This is particularly important after they’ve been in storage for many months.
Your nose is the most reliable way to tell if a nut has gone bad. Trust your senses! Rancid nuts always smell. If it smells bad, it is bad. 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. Occasionally, besides the bad taste, spoiled nuts will cause vomiting or diarrhea.
When nuts go rancid, they can release carcinogens harmful to your long term health. Furthermore, it can cause some damage or pain to your digestive tract. So, if your nuts from longer term storage taste a bit off, just throw them out.
You might want to do further research by reading this article from Livestrong about the risks of 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. Those three nuts can quickly turn rancid in warm environments.
Store your nuts in tightly closed containers to keep out moisture and other contaminants. Think canning jars, FoodSaver, or glassware with a good seal. This tight seal provides extra protection from odors leaking into the nuts. This works especially well for walnuts and pecans.
Here’s another pro tip: unsalted nuts stay fresher longer than salted nuts.
Since opened packages of nuts last for a shorter period of time, if you buy a large bag, reseal them into smaller portions and keep them cold. Remember to mark the container with the date they were purchased. This will be particularly useful for your food kits and
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?
Follow these general guidelines storing nuts in the pantry, fridge and freezer.
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 1 year in the fridge 3 years in the 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 the nuts only if you want, this is not an essential step. More importantly, make sure they are completely dry before placing them in their storage containers. Wet nuts can develop mold, which is toxic and will ruin the entire batch.
Short term storage, up to three months: Store in the pantry. Ideally, store your nuts in a glass jar rather than plastic containers. This will increase the length of time they’re good for as well as keeping out any potential chemicals from the plastic.
Storage up to six months: Store your nuts in the refrigerator. Keep them away from other strong-smelling foods. Nuts are very smell absorbent, meaning they will pick up the scents of nearby foods. Keep your dinner guests happy by avoiding nuts that smell like French cheese!
Longer term storage: Your freezer will keep nuts fresh for up to a year (or even up to three years depending on the nut). In order to maximize freshness, freeze the nuts immediately after bringing them home.
Do you have other favorite nuts or good tips on storing nuts for longer shelf life? We want to hear from you! Add your thoughts to our comments below. Inspired to store more healthy and tasty foods for the long haul? Check out our other How Do I Store That? posts on PreparednessMama
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