Pecans have a relatively long shelf life when kept in a cool, dark place due to the high content of natural oils they contain.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your pecans even further, then they can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Pecans will last up to a year in the refrigerator or up to 2 years when kept in the freezer.
What is the Shelf Life of Pecans?
The shelf life of pecans is heavily dependent on how you store them and whether or not they are still in their shells. Pecans contain a lot of natural oil, and it is this that helps to preserve pecans so they can last for a long time, even when kept at room temperature. Here we explore the varying shelf life of pecans and the best storage options.
Unshelled vs. shelled pecans
Unshelled pecans are pecans that remain in their shells. The shell of the pecan offers an extra layer of protection against moisture and pests, helping to preserve the pecans for longer than those which have had their shells removed.
Both shelled, and unshelled pecans have a good shelf life even when kept at room temperature, as long as they are sealed inside an airtight container, though you can generally expect that unshelled pecans will last a few months longer than shelled pecans.
Pecans in the pantry
Pecans can last for many months in a dark, cool storage spot, such as a pantry. If you have a small pack of pecans that will get eaten within the space of a few months, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t store them in a pantry.
When storing pecans in the pantry, ensure they are in an airtight container such as a Tupperware or a Ziploc bag, and expel as much air as you can. Unshelled pecans will last like this for around 6 months, while shelled pecans will last between 2 and 3 months.
Pecans in the refrigerator
If you live in a hot and humid climate, then your pecans are more likely to go bad when stored in the pantry, as they may be subjected to warm temperatures or moisture from the air. In this case, storing your pecans in the refrigerator will help to extend their shelf life. Store pecans in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent them from absorbing moisture or odors from other foods. Unshelled pecans will last in the refrigerator for between 9 months and a year, while shelled pecans will be good for around six months in the refrigerator.
Pecans in the freezer
If you want to preserve pecans for as long as possible, then the freezer is your best option. Both shelled, and unshelled pecans can be kept in the freezer for many years, though they will be in their best condition if you freeze them for no more than two years.
Can Pecans be Frozen?
Pecans are a type of produce you might not think about freezing, but it can make a whole lot of sense to freeze these nuts. If you have a pecan tree and produce a heavy harvest of pecans, then storing them in the freezer will cut down on the wastage of nuts which go bad before you have the chance to eat them, and it also means you’ll always have fresh pecans on hand whenever you want them.
Pecans from the store also tend to be much more affordable when they are purchased in bulk, so you could buy a large amount of pecans and store some in the freezer to get the best value. Pecans freeze really well, and they’re super easy to defrost. They retain all of their delicious flavor and texture for up to 2 years when kept in the freezer.
How to Freeze Pecans
Pecans are still able to absorb odors and moisture when kept in the freezer, so it’s important that they are stored in an airtight container such as a freezer bag. If you have a large amount of pecans to freeze, it may be useful to decant them into several small portions in a number of freezer bags so that you don’t have to defrost the whole load when you want a snack of pecans.
You could portion them into set amounts, such as 100 grams per bag, as this will make it easier to know how many bags you need if you want the pecans for a baking recipe. You can also double bag pecans for extra protection if you wish. Be sure to label your pecans with the current date, then put them in the freezer and keep them there for up to 2 years.
How to Defrost Pecans
Pecans defrost quickly and easily at room temperature. When you want to defrost your pecans, just grab a bag from the freezer and leave it on your kitchen countertop. A small to medium bag of pecans should have defrosted within around 30 minutes.
If you need the pecans to have thawed faster, avoid putting them in the microwave. Microwave pecans tend to take on a chewy texture, and they will no longer taste fresh.
Can Thawed Pecans be Refrozen?
If you have thawed more pecans than you actually needed, then you have several options. You can move them to the refrigerator in a sealed bag, where they should remain fresh for a further 2 to 3 months, depending on whether they are shelled or unshelled. If you won’t be needing the pecans again for some time, you can return them to the freezer.
Pecans can be frozen, defrosted, and refrozen multiple times without losing their taste or texture, as long as you don’t freeze them for longer than a maximum of 2 years. While pecans can technically be frozen indefinitely and remain safe to eat, they start to lose their freshness after two years, so to get the best pecans, it is recommended to freeze them for a maximum of 2 years.