Almost everyone’s rediscovered their nut stash, hidden in the back of the kitchen cupboard, only to find they’ve gone stale.
Nuts are delicious AND great for your health (they’re actually considered a fruit but unlike most types of fruit, they aren’t as sweet and are high in ‘good’ fats). Nuts are a great source of nutrients (vitamin E, magnesium, protein), loaded with antioxidants, can lower cholesterol levels, are high in fibre and can even reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
And while buying in bulk is a fantastic cost saver on often-expensive nuts, it does come at a price – they can go stale. There are, however, tricks to buying and storing to extend their shelf life.
Nuts are pricey, even purchasing in bulk. Tasting a few nuts before you buy is a fantastic idea, because there’s nothing worse than bringing home a batch of stale or old nuts. So if you’re buying from a friendly wholesaler, ask to try before you buy – they should appreciate someone who knows their nuts!
Nuts that have been chopped or sliced have a shorter shelf life than whole raw nuts. Processed nuts oxidise a lot faster, because the oils inside the nuts are exposed to more air, so go whole whenever you can.
Likewise, while nuts can be stored in or out of the shell, they’ll last longer if you store them in the shell. Either way, it’s important to store the nuts in an air-tight container, in a cool, dark pantry. To preserve the quality of your nuts, also keep them away from high-odour foods such as onions because nuts tend to take on the smell of things surrounding them.
If you’ve bought a large quantity of nuts, storing them in sealable bags in the fridge or freezer will help prolong their life by a long shot. You can store shelled or unshelled nuts in the fridge for up to six months and in the freezer for one year. Remember to label the sealed bag with a date, so you know which one to use first.
If a batch of nuts becomes stale, don’t fret, however! Just toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes to bring back their flavour.