It might surprise you to learn that the freezer is actually one of the best places for nuts to be stored. This is because it protects nuts from all of the factors which can cause them to go rancid, including heat, light, oxygen, and pests.
By keeping nuts in the freezer, you can preserve them for as long as two years, and they will retain their peak flavor and texture. Nuts can be kept in the freezer for longer than two years and will remain safe to eat, though they may no longer taste fresh.
Most types of nuts are suitable for freezing, including raw and roasted nuts. Here we explore how to store nuts in various ways and how to defrost them.
What is the Shelf Life of Nuts?
Nuts are a healthy and nutritious snack that are great to keep on hand, and many people store them in a cupboard or pantry because nuts seemingly have a generous shelf life. However, nuts contain unsaturated fats in the form of fruit oils, which can cause the nuts to spoil quickly when exposed to heat, light, or oxygen. Because of this, the way that you store your nuts is going to have a big impact on their shelf life.
Nuts stored in an airtight container in the pantry will usually last around 3 months, though this length of time will differ depending on whether the nuts are shelled or unshelled, whether they have been chopped or ground, and whether their packaging has been opened which exposes them to oxygen.
Light, heat, and oxygen are the enemies of nuts when it comes to storage, so to preserve the shelf life of your nuts and keep them tasting delicious for longer, you should store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark location. A ziploc bag or sealed tupperware works well if the nuts are kept in the dark cupboard or pantry.
Remember to properly reseal the container after you’ve grabbed a handful of nuts, and if possible, expel as much air as you can. Storing nuts in this way works well if you have small bags of nuts that you eat within a few weeks, however, if you have larger amounts of nuts that you won’t go through quite so quickly, you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve them.
Nuts go bad when exposed to light, heat and oxygen, so to keep them fresher for longer, the refrigerator is a good storage choice. Be sure to put nuts in an airtight container before putting them in the fridge, as this will help to protect them from bacteria or smells they could absorb from other foods. The airtight container also helps to keep oxygen away from the nuts.
Refrigerating nuts will greatly extend their shelf life. You can expect unshelled nuts to keep their taste and texture for around a year in the refrigerator, while shelled, chopped, or ground nuts will last for around 6 months in the refrigerator. Many people find keeping nuts in the refrigerator is a happy medium between storing them in the pantry and the freezer.
Although the refrigerator won’t preserve them for as long as the freezer, it allows you to always have nuts on hand ready to eat, without the need to defrost them.
If you’re looking to preserve nuts for the maximum amount of time, then the freezer is your best option. When stored in the freezer, nuts will remain fresh and retain their flavor and texture for two years.
They will still be safe to eat after spending more than two years in the freezer, but their taste may begin to decline. If you buy nuts in bulk, you can decant them into several freezer bags for convenience.
Can Nuts be Frozen?
Yes, nuts can certainly be frozen. Many people don’t think about freezing nuts because they are more commonly kept in the pantry. However, the freezer is one of the best places for storing nuts.
Freezing nuts allows them to maintain their fresh taste and texture while ensuring they last as long as possible. Nuts can be defrosted really quickly, so unlike many foods that are kept in the freezer, you don’t need to worry about the inconvenience of waiting for nuts to defrost.
Can All Nuts be Frozen?
The vast majority of nuts are suitable for freezing, including pistachios, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pecans. You can freeze these types of nuts in their shells or once they have been shelled. You can also freeze them when they have been sliced, chopped, ground, or roasted.
Nuts which have been prepared in a coating are also suitable for freezing, such as chocolate nuts, honey nuts, or salted nuts. The one thing you do need to be wary of is that nuts with a high water content will not freeze well. This means you should avoid freezing coconuts and chestnuts. Instead, these nuts are best kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How to Freeze Nuts?
Nuts can be frozen in their shelled or unshelled form. They can also be frozen after they have been chopped or if they’ve been ground.
If you have a new and unopened pack of nuts, you can store it in the freezer in its original packaging, or you can divide the bag of nuts up into smaller airtight containers. If you have already opened your nuts, move them into an airtight container, such as a freezer bag.
Do Frozen Nuts Need to be Thawed?
If you plan to snack on your frozen nuts or add them as a topping to cereal or yogurt, then you’ll need to defrost them first. This is to avoid cracking a tooth on a rock-hard nut!
However, if you are using frozen nuts in a baking recipe you can throw them right in, in their frozen state. They will defrost during the baking process.