All the walnut lovers gather here!
Walnuts are a deeply underappreciated type of nut and they deserve more love and attention from us.
I love to munch on a handful of walnuts or pack them in lunchboxes as a healthy snack.
More importantly, I can’t stop myself from buying them in bulk to use later on to make walnut butter.
Eventually, I have to store them properly so that they remain fresh for a long period of time.
If you are wondering how to store walnuts the right way, then read on to find out!
How to Store Whole Walnuts
You can store whole walnuts in three different ways – at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer.
So, let’s see how you can store them at room temperature. Storing at room temperature will only keep walnuts fresh for a short time.
Even unshelled nuts can take on the flavor of items that they are stored near such as onions. This is why an airtight container is advised.
At Room Temperature
Here’s how you can store walnuts at room temperature:
- If you got your walnuts from the local market, then you will want to freeze them prior to storing them in your pantry. Put the walnuts in a freezer bag and place it in your freezer.
- Let the walnuts sit in your freezer for about 2 days before taking them out.
- Take the walnuts out of the freezer and put them in an airtight plastic or glass container. Make sure the container is dry and clean and has an odor-resistant, tight seal.
- Put the jar full of walnuts in a dark and cool area of your pantry
Pro Tip: Make sure to shell the walnuts only when you need to use them to retain the best quality.
In a Fridge or Freezer
To prolong the shelf life of whole walnuts, you can store them in your freezer. Here’s what you need to do to keep walnuts fresh in a freezer or fridge.
- Place the walnuts in an airtight container or a sealable heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Put the freezer bag or container in your freezer or refrigerator.
- Whenever you need to use some, take the required amount out of the bags, reseal it, and put it back in the fridge or freezer. You will be able to use the walnuts right away since they thaw pretty quickly at room temperature.
Pro Tip: If you’re storing the walnuts in your refrigerator, make sure that you don’t place them in the veggie crisper as the humidity in the crisper will cause the walnuts to deteriorate quickly.
How to Store Shelled Walnuts
Shelled walnuts tend to turn rancid much more quickly than whole walnuts as they are not protected by their shells.
So, to keep them fresh, you should either store them in the refrigerator or freeze them.
In the Fridge
Here’s how you can store walnuts at room temperature:
- If your store-bought package of walnuts is unopened, you can just toss them into your fridge as is.
- However, if you have opened the package, then you need to transfer the walnuts into a freezer bag or an airtight container. Keeping them in an airtight environment will keep the moisture and strong odor in the fridge at bay.
Pro Tip: When storing walnuts in the fridge, make sure that you don’t store them in the veggie crisper. This is because the humidity in the crisper will cause the walnuts to deteriorate faster.
In the Freezer
To further prolong the shelf life of shelled walnuts, make sure to place them in the freezer.
- Take the walnuts out of their store packaging and transfer them into a sealable and airtight container or a sealable heavy-duty freezer bag.
- Place the freezer bag or container in your freezer and take the shelled walnuts out whenever you need to use them and reseal the container or bag.
Pro Tip: If you want to use the walnuts in a recipe that calls for chopped or ground walnuts, then make sure to chop or grind them right before using them, not before freezing them. This way, they will retain their taste and quality.
How to Tell When Walnuts Have Gone Bad
As I have already motioned, walnuts tend to go bad, which is why you need to store them properly.
However, even with proper storage, walnuts can go bad after a few months – not all good things are meant to last forever!
So, how can you tell when your stored walnuts have gone bad?
Outer Visual Inspection – First, you need to examine the walnuts; if the shells have shrunk in size and look all dried out, then you can go ahead and discard those walnuts right away.
It’s a clear indication that the walnut has turned bad.
Internal Visual Inspection – If the shell seems perfectly fine, then you can crack it open and take a look at what’s inside.
Take a closer look to see if there’s any net forming on the walnut or if there is signs of mold growth. If there are clear signs, then throw it away.
Sniff Inspection – However, if the walnuts appear to be spotless, then you need to do the “sniff” test. Typically, walnuts have a mild nutty whiff.
So, if your stored walnuts smell anything like rancid oil, used cooking oil, or even paint thinner, then they have gone bad and you need to discard them.
How Long Do Walnuts Last?
- Unshelled walnuts up to 1 year in the pantry.
- Shelled walnuts will last 2-4 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Shelled walnuts will last up to 6 months in the fridge.
Unshelled or whole walnuts can easily last in your pantry for up to a year. Of course, you don’t have to discard all the walnuts after the 1-year mark.
However, chances are that at least some of the walnuts on your stored batch will have dried out or turned rancid after 12 months.
If you stored a store-bought package of walnuts, then you can go by its best-before label.
However, most walnuts easily last a few months more than the given best-before dates. Simply put, the longer you store walnuts, the likelier it is that more of them will turn rancid.
When it comes to shelled walnuts, if stored properly in airtight jars, they can last for around 2 to 4 weeks at room temperature.
Moreover, they easily last up to 6 months in the fridge and up to a year and even more in the freezer.
Similar to their whole counterparts, the longer you store them, the likelier it is that more of them will turn bad and taste bitter – no one wants to eat or use bitter walnuts in their desserts.
Should I Refrigerate Walnuts?
You don’t need to refrigerate whole walnuts, just make sure to store them in a cool, dry place.
However, refrigerating them will prolong their shelf life.
As for shelled walnuts, they need to be refrigerated as refrigerating them keeps them in optimal quality.
Make sure to refrigerate the walnuts in sealable containers and store them in your refrigerator or freeze them in your freezer.
How to Keep Walnuts Fresh Longer
To extend the shelf life of both whole and shelled walnuts, you simply have to freeze them in heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight jars or containers at the optimal freezer temperature of 0 degrees.
The Bottom Line
We hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to store walnuts – both whole and shelled.
The best way to keep walnuts fresh is to store them in the refrigerator or freezer as it prolongs their life.
Make sure to store the walnuts in the correct manner so that you can enjoy fresh walnuts as is or add them to your scrumptious recipes!