It’s really important to store nuts correctly to ensure maximum freshness and taste. A heart-healthy snack, bulk nuts can become rancid quickly if not stored correctly. Especially when exposed to heat because of their high fat content. Once the oils in nuts go bad and they become rancid, there’s no fixing them. But as long as you follow these storage tips, that shouldn’t be a problem that you ever have to deal with. If stored correctly, nuts can last for up to a year.
Tips to Safely Store Nuts
- Contrary to popular belief, nuts should be stored in the fridge or freezer as opposed to a room temperature pantry. Why? Because nuts contain a high amount of unsaturated fat, a delicate type of oil, which makes them highly prone to going rancid. Spoilage is accelerated even more in the presence of light, oxygen, and heat. Storing nuts (and seeds) in the fridge or freezer limits their exposure to all three of these, and will result in your nuts tasting less bitter and more flavorful for a longer period of time.
- Containers that have air-tight seals like glass jars and plastic containers should be used when storing nuts. This ensures your stored nuts will maintain the proper moisture level.
- If you do have to store at room temperature, make sure to choose a dark space without direct heat. If sealed correctly, nuts can maintain freshness for up to 3 months in this short term storage.
- For storage up to six months, store in the refrigerator and keep away from onions and other strong-smelling foods as nuts tend to take on the smell of things around them.
- For longer term storage, the freezer will keep nuts fresh up to a year. As the water content is low, freezing won’t affect the taste.
- Label your packages of nuts with the date that they were put into storage, so you know which ones to use first.
- Always allow cold nuts to warm to room temperature before opening the bag. This will prevent them from absorbing any excess moisture.
Bonus Tips for Storing Nuts
- Whole, raw nuts and seeds with stay fresh the longest. That’s because when chopped, roasted, or ground, nuts release their oils. These oils are then exposed to more oxygen, which makes nuts go rancid more quickly.
- Nuts in shells keep longer than those that have already been shelled.
- Unsalted nuts keep longer than salted ones.
- Chestnuts are not as shelf-stable as other nuts and should be frozen.
- Pecans, peanuts, and walnuts are more prone to spoiling.
- Cashews and almonds are the least prone to spoiling.
- Before using nuts, always smell first to make sure they have not let oxygen in and gone rancid.