Nuts seem like an obvious pantry-safe food. Given that they’re a staple ingredient for snacks like trail mix and granola bars —and, once upon a time, were handed out on airlines — they can last forever, right? Well, not exactly. As it turns out, you’ve probably been storing them wrong this whole time.
Nuts, which offer healthy benefits like protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat, need to be properly stored to keep their oils from becoming rancid, according to University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
To start with, it’s important to understand how temperature and time affect nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts. Keeping nuts at room temperature for longer than a few months (and an even shorter time than that in a warm temperature) can attract insects, along with increasing the probability for rancidness. You’ll know a nut is rancid because it will taste sharp and generally not tasty. Freezing nuts keeps them fresher for a longer period of time — and free from critters.
One Redditor explains what made them decide to change their nut-storing ways and start storing everything in the freezer.
"Found a sealed tub of unsalted pistachios absolutely crawling with some sort of tiny bugs the other day. Had been in the larder for probably a year. Grim. Will be doing this from now on," says u/Dahnhilla.
"I just learned this myself two years ago when I started buying bulk nuts, my poor father is still fighting the damned pantry moths which at this point ought to be paying him rent," says u/Dear_Occupant.
The bottom line? Nuts are pricy, and if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you should keep them stored in the freezer.
How do you store nuts in the freezer?
First, make sure the nuts are placed in some sort of an airtight container. Tasting Table recommends wrapping them in plastic first, then placing them in a freezer bag. It's a good idea to list the date the nuts were frozen on the packaging. You also may want to freeze nut types separately so the flavors don't mingle.
How long can nuts last in the freezer?
Frozen nuts last about a year, but some nuts, like almonds and pecans, can last as long as two years in the freezer.
Which nuts freeze well?
Pretty much all of them, and you'll want to do it as soon as you buy them to keep them freshest. One interesting fact: Chestnuts can get moldy at room temperature as quickly as within a couple weeks, so it's best to get them in cold temps ASAP.
Is it better to freeze or refrigerate nuts?
Nuts can be kept in the fridge with many of the same benefits as freezing — but will only last half as long, according to Food & Wine. Their low water content means they are less likely to get freezer burn than other foods like meat or veggies.
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