When you’re doing this week’s shopping, and you discover walnuts on the list, you probably haven’t thought about how long they last. Did you ever check the expiration date or ask to yourself, how to store walnuts?
How to store walnuts:
- Store walnuts in a cool, dry place.
- Opened walnuts should be properly sealed when stored.
- Store walnuts in the refrigerator up to six months.
- For long-term storage, freeze walnuts up to one year.
- Keep walnuts away from foods with heavy odors.
As you see, the way you store walnuts depends on how and when you plan to eat them. Let’s dive deeper and explain in exact detail how to store them for each method and find out why.
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How To Store Walnuts
1. Store Walnuts In A Cool, Dry Place
Walnuts bought in a sealed bag or container can be kept in the pantry, cupboard or somewhere without direct sunlight or high humidity 1. Walnuts will go bad faster in heat when stored, therefore it’s best to keep them away from any high heat source.
If you open the bag and want to store the walnuts you didn’t use, put the bag in an airtight canister or other bin. Some walnuts already come in airtight containers which are fine. As long as the container chosen is sealed properly, walnuts should be okay for up to three months at room temperature.
2. Opened Walnuts Should Be Properly Sealed
If the walnuts came in a bag, a twist tie isn’t going to cut it this time. When walnuts are exposed to the air, they’ll start to lose their freshness and begin to go bad. To maintain the usefulness of the walnuts, seal them in an airtight container 2.
A jar or bowl with a lid or a plastic bag with a ziplock can work. If you don’t close your container correctly, you’ll just be throwing the walnuts away in a week because they will turn fast. I always purchase walnuts already in a container which seals out the air when closed after opening.
3. Store Walnuts In The Refrigerator Up To Six Months
If you can resist buying in bulk but still don’t need to eat your walnuts for another couple of days, the refrigerator is the best place for them. The fridge will help keep them fresh and even help to keep their nutritional value.
Walnuts in the refrigerator will last up to six months this way 3. Don’t forget to keep them stored in a sealed container. In addition, don’t store them near other food items with heavy odors. Read more just below about foods with heavy odors.
4. For Long-Term Storage, Freeze Walnuts Up To One Year
Walnuts can be expensive and sometimes they go on sale. When they do, you’ll be tempted to more of them which won’t be used right away. What do you do with the rest of them? At some point, you’d like using them all but just don’t know when that’ll be.
That’s why it’s recommended to put them in the freezer in a sealed container for long-term storage 4. You can preserve the walnuts for up to a year when stored this way. How do you freeze walnuts? How to freeze walnuts:
- Place the walnuts into a plastic freezer storage bag.
- Remove the excess air from the bag.
- Write the date onto the bag.
- Place the bag into the freezer for up to one year.
The best way to remove excess air from a plastic bag is to use a vacuum sealer. They are one of those items that make you wonder how you did without one before purchasing it. Amazon has many affordable ones. Check out their current prices here, Vacuum Sealers.
Without a vacuum sealer, try squeezing out as much air from the bag as possible. Zipper it enough to leave a small opening large enough to fit a straw. Insert the straw and suck out the remaining air. Remove the straw and at the same time close the opening.
How To Defrost Frozen Walnuts
The best way to defrost walnuts is to remove them from the freezer and place them into the refrigerator until they thaw. If you need them thawed out much quicker, remove them from the freezer and place them on the counter until thawed out.
When nuts are about to go bad, there’s another thing you can do besides freeze them or throw them out. They can be turned into nut butter. Check out my article about it here, This Is How You Store Nuts To Keep Them Fresh.
5. Keep Walnuts Away From Foods With Heavy Odors
Even though the fridge is a great place to store walnuts, you might need to do some rearranging on your shelves making sure they’re not right next to the tuna salad. Walnuts can be very absorbent, therefore, any food having a strong taste or smell could ruin the freshness of the nuts.
The following foods should not be stored next to walnuts in the refrigerator:
- Prepared Foods
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
How Long Does It Take for Walnuts To Go Bad?
Shelled walnuts will go bad in less than a month if not stored properly in a tightly sealed container or bag. If stored correctly, walnuts can last between 2 and 4 weeks at room temperature. Walnuts become rancid quicker, especially unshelled ones, in warm weather due to their high oil percentage.
Therefore, make sure to keep walnuts properly in a sealed container to prevent them from going bad when exposed to the air 5. Walnuts can become moldy and shrivel up if they are rotten. If they’re still fresh, they’ll have a pleasant, nutty smell to them 6.
Strangely enough, walnuts will smell like paint thinner if they become rotten. You may ask yourself, what to do with spoiled walnuts?
Spoiled walnuts are no longer safe to eat and should be thrown away.
If walnuts are still in their shell, they will have a better chance of staying fresh. Therefore, if you have a bowl of shelled walnuts on your table, perhaps next to a festive wooden, nut-cracking guy for the evening, they’ll be fine.
Storing Cooked vs. Uncooked Walnuts
We’ve talked about all the methods for storing raw, uncooked walnuts, but how about once you’ve roasted or chopped them? Raw walnuts will always have a longer shelf-life than walnuts that have been cooked. Therefore, it’s best to wait until you need to use or eat them before you alter them.
Storing Black Walnuts
Many people like to save and use the black walnuts falling from their trees every year. Black walnuts are best ripened while on the tree after the husk turns to a yellowish green color 7. You’ll know when they’re ripe when an indentation is left after pressing on it with your thumb.
How to store black walnuts:
- Remove the husks.
- Wash the shells and check for insect infestation.
- Place the black walnuts in shallow trays.
- Place the trays into a cool, dry area away from sunlight for two weeks.
- Transfer the black walnuts to cloth bags.
- Store in a cool, well ventilated place under 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do walnuts need to be refrigerated? Walnuts do not need to be refrigerated and can be stored on the counter or in a cool dark place like the pantry. Once opened walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Can walnuts go bad? Walnuts can go bad especially if stored in a warmer area. The fats and oil in the walnut will change the walnut and make it turn rancid.
How do you store walnuts for long term storage? Walnuts should be stored long-term in the refrigerator for up to six months or the freezer for up to one year.
If you’re more of a visual learner or would like to see some great examples of walnut storage containers, check out this video on YouTube.
- The fridge or freezer will keep your walnuts fresh for months.
- Make sure the walnuts are in a sealed container.
- Shelled walnuts will always last longer than unshelled walnuts.
- Keep walnuts in a cool place and away from heat or sunlight.
Read Next – More Food Storage Articles!
- University of California: Harvesting and Storing Your Home Orchard’s Nut Crop
- UCANR: Storing and preserving fresh nuts
- California Walnuts: Usage, Storage & Purchase Tips
- California Walnuts: How to Buy, care & Store
- University of Florida: I Did “Nut” know the Best to Store Walnuts
- Michigan State University: Preserving fresh walnuts to maintain nutritional content
- Michigan State University: Using black walnuts
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Nuts: Harvesting and Storing