Walnuts are a healthy snack, but it’s important to keep them fresh to avoid losing their flavor and becoming rancid. Just like other nuts, the shelf life of walnuts, whether they are in a shell or shelled, depends on their best before date and how they are stored. So, how long do walnuts last with and without a shell?
Walnuts last in the pantry for 2-3 months, in the refrigerator for 8-12 months, and 12-18 months in the freezer. In addition, Walnuts last about three months after being shelled and stored in the pantry, 8 to 12 months if kept in the fridge or freezer. Longer storage times can cause rancidity and a bitter taste.
Furthermore, shelled and unshelled walnuts will generally stay good for about 3-4 months past their printed date, assuming proper storage conditions. To maximize the shelf life of walnuts, keep the nuts in their shells until ready to use and store in a cool, dark area; shelled or unshelled walnuts may be stored in tightly-sealed containers in the refrigerator or freezer.
How to store unshelled walnuts?
The general rule when storing nuts is that the longer the shelf life you’re looking for, the colder the temperature they need to be stored. In other words, the summer heat or your pantry may make walnuts go bad quickly.
To maximize your supply of unshelled walnuts, keep them in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator and plan to use them within nine months.
In addition, if you want to store them for longer than a year, wrap them tightly in an airtight container and place them in your freezer without greatly affecting their flavor. Once thawed, nuts tend to become soft and start browning more quickly than you might think.
How long do black walnuts last in the shell?
Black walnuts can be stored in the shell for up to 2 years at room temperature if kept dry. They will last 6-12 months in the refrigerator. Once the nuts are cracked open and shelled, they will only stay fresh for 1-2 weeks at room temperature or one month in the refrigerator.
In addition, once the black walnuts are shelled (removed from their shells), they should be used immediately or refrigerated as they do not store well due to their high-fat content.
One exception is commercially vacuum-sealed black walnuts which can keep their flavor and nutrients intact for up to a year if stored at ambient room temperature. However, black walnuts, in a nutshell, do not last as long because they contain less water than those still in the shell.
Also, the shelf life of black walnuts depends largely on the best before date and how they are stored. They are usually consumed right away, but you can preserve walnut flavor and texture by drying, freezing, or pickling them.
How long do walnuts last in the freezer?
Walnuts last for 1-2 years in the freezer, though they are best used within a year (and three months if frozen raw). If they’re stored past this time, their flavor changes from nutty and buttery to bitter.
Furthermore, since all foods freeze at the same temperature (0 F / -17.7 C), the way to tell if your walnuts have been preserved at a consistent enough temperature to be safe for consumption is by how they look and taste. If either aspect has changed in any drastic way, throw them away!
In addition, blanched walnut halves/pieces will keep well in the freezer about 12 months after the blanching and packing date. They can last even longer if they’re stored in freezer bags with an oxygen absorber (like in a vacuum sealer).
What to do with expired walnuts?
You truly are what you eat. So, most of us do our best to stick to the expiration and “best by” dates on our foods, out of care for our body’s health, and because throwing away, good food just hurts. However, some foods are okay to eat long after the expiration date; walnuts included!
Expired walnuts are a yummy snack on their own or add to salads, oatmeal, and other recipes. Walnuts are also a source of plant-based protein. You could use expired walnuts for cooking. Try a walnut concoction for brownies or cake.
Also, here’s a great way to use up an extra batch of walnuts.
- Spread them evenly on a baking tray and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes, until they smell awesome and taste even better.
- Add to salads, fold through granola or add a sprinkle to that make-ahead breakfast.
How can you tell if walnuts are bad?
It’s very easy to tell if walnuts have gone bad. To tell if your walnuts are bad, look for signs of mold on the shells. Unfortunately, you can’t always see mold, though you might smell it if your walnuts have gone bad. For this reason, take care in storing them well. Also, look for wormholes on the shell to determine if any pests have gotten into the package.
Another sign of spoilage is a rotten smell cracking the shell. If the kernel is badly discolored, hard, or has an unpleasant odor, it’s likely gone bad. If you’re still unsure about your walnut’s quality, taste it before using it. Simply smell the walnuts; if you get a rotten odor, then they’ve spoiled.
Rancid walnuts have a chemical, acrid smell. You can also look at the shells; if they appear dry and gherkin-like or soft and spongy, they have gone bad.
In addition, store walnuts in the fridge or freezer to remain fresh for 6–12 months. If you’re not sure whether a nut has gone bad, taste it first; if it doesn’t smell off and if it tastes fine, it’s probably still good.
Do walnuts go bad if unopened?
Walnuts still have the possibility to go bad if unopened once it expires. The walnuts may begin to dry out, but they are still safe to consume if stored properly. In addition, walnuts should be refrigerated either in the shell or shelled. Rancidity can set in if kept at room temperature for an extended time.
Also, walnuts will dehydrate and stale over long periods of storage. Walnut pieces or coarsely chopped walnuts will stale faster than straight halves or whole walnuts. Shelled nuts are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer, where they will keep for about two years but should be kept dry as moisture is an enemy to all nuts.
However, walnuts do not go bad if unopened. If stored in the fridge, they’ll stay fresh for about nine months; if stored at room temperature, they’ll stay fresh for about six months. Once opened and exposed to air, walnuts are best consumed within 7-10 days for maximum freshness.
Are walnuts good past expiration date?
Many foods are fine past the expiration date. For example, if you still have a package of walnuts past their expiration date, don’t throw them away quite yet. You can keep them in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry, for up to six months after the date on the packaging.
A refrigerator or freezer is even better; refrigerated or frozen nuts will last up to a year after their expiration date. They should last 2-3 years if stored properly.
Also, if they’re in their shell, they’ll last quite a while after the expiration date, so long as they’re kept in a cool, dry place. Shelled walnuts, however, should be eaten within 15 months of harvest, which might be before the expiration date.
In addition, one of the biggest concerns with expired food is bacteria. For example, if walnuts are left out at temperatures between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella can grow in your food and make it unsafe to eat. So, keep it frozen.
Why are black walnuts toxic?
Black walnuts are a very healthy and nutritious nut. They are rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3. However, there is one thing that you should bear in mind: the accumulation of hydrocyanic acid produced by the black walnut itself will harbor the soil on which it grows.
In addition, raw black walnuts are toxic to people and animals. They contain a substance called juglone, used in traditional herbal medicine to treat conditions such as asthma and skin diseases. Enjoy these nuts in moderation, as they are high in calories, fat, and protein.
Furthermore, juglone, a chemical compound present in all parts of the black walnut tree, is toxic to many plants. Not all plants can tolerate juglone and those that cannot die when exposed to it. Place cardboard or a plastic tarp under your black walnut tree before collecting fresh walnuts to avoid this problem.
How do you refresh stale walnuts?
Walnuts become stale because they are dried and contain oil in them. When the oil in the walnuts oxidizes, the walnuts will become stale. To refresh stale walnuts; place them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes in a 150°F degree oven. Toss with a sprinkle of salt, if desired. Or use them crumbled into oatmeal or pancakes.
Preheat your oven at 300°F (148°C) for optimal results, and toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. If they’re too oily or moist, bake for another 5 minutes to dry them out.
Also, if walnuts are stored in the fridge, they can develop a stale, musty taste. To refresh them (and we’re talking about packaged walnuts here), remove them from their package, put them on a plate, cover them with another plate, and microwave for 1 minute on high. Let stand 3 minutes; rinse in cold water and dry well before using.
Can you freeze walnuts?
You can freeze walnuts for up to 9 months. We recommend freezing the nuts in an airtight container or bag; if you don’t use all frozen nuts at once, remember to keep them sealed tightly again before returning them to the freezer.
However, walnuts contain a high amount of oil in them. While the freezing process will not exactly damage this oil, it will change its texture and leave it less than desirable. If you want the taste and texture of fresh walnuts, only use fresh ones.
Also, while we don’t recommend freezing walnuts long-term, you can freeze them for up to three months. If you do freeze walnuts, make sure to let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before eating, or add them straight from the freezer to a warm dish or baked good.
Is walnut poisonous?
No, walnuts are not poisonous at all. They’re delicious and nutritious food that you can enjoy in many recipes or as a snack. The nuts, leaves, bark, and roots are used in the pharmacy to treat diabetes, bronchitis, and coughs.
In addition, walnuts can be unhealthy if you eat too much of them and have high calories. One ounce of walnuts (14 halves) contains 185 calories, so sticking to the recommended serving size 1 ounce is important to keep your calorie intake in check.
However, you only need to worry about it when you eat the skin of the green walnut, but only if they are immature. So, avoid eating immature green nuts.
Additionally, walnuts can be fatal to horses and cows if eaten in very large amounts (approx. 1.5 kg). The toxin in the nut is abrin. Abrin is a toxin produced by certain plants, including the castor bean, which is used to make castor oil.
It has been used as a poison in murders and for suicide attempts. Although it rarely causes death, it is considered a potential bioterrorism agent is used as an aerosol.
How to store walnuts
First, store walnuts in a cool, dry place at 40 degrees F or below. Second, reshelving should be avoided if possible. Finally, wash hands before handling nuts and keep nuts refrigerated when not in use.
Also, walnuts will maintain the best quality for about 2 to 3 months in your refrigerator; however, they may safely be stored for six months to 1 year when properly frozen.
Furthermore, unopened walnuts should be stored in a cool, dark area, such as a pantry, for approximately six months. A cool garage is also suitable for storing unopened walnuts as long as the temperature is between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius. Walnuts kept in the refrigerator will stay fresh for up to a year.
Additionally, you should keep them in their shells, but don’t let them sit around in a bowl on the table. Or else they will get eaten because walnuts in plain view of the family will be munched on for no good reason.
It is always good to have some nuts stocked up in your pantry. They are great substitutes for snacks. Plus, they are highly nutritious, too, especially walnuts. We hope this article on how long do walnuts last helped you understand more about walnuts and how to store them.