Whether as a salad topping or in a delicious homemade pesto, we all love the taste of pine nuts. But using them for these two uses won’t get you through the packet very quickly. And if you have bought in bulk, this could easily become a bit of a problem. No one likes to throw food away, especially expensive food like this. So, to stop that from happening to you, we’ve put together a handy guide on pine nut storage. We will also tell you how to notice the signs of spoilage and how long that pine nuts can last. So, if this is the kind of info you are after, look no further!
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Do Pine Nuts Go Bad?
Pine nuts, like any other nuts, contain oil. Oil is pretty likely to go rancid at some point in the future, no matter what you do. When this happens, it spells the end for any kind of nut. The sweet and almost buttery flavor turns bitter, and they’re just not worth keeping anymore. However, the news isn’t all bad. Pine nuts can be kept for a really long time if they are stored correctly. So, with that in mind, here comes our best storage tips for pine nuts. Hopefully, you may never have to throw out gone off pine nuts ever again!
How Do I Store Pine Nuts?
The simple answer to this is that you should store them like any other nut. As we mentioned, nuts are loaded with oils that can leak out and go rancid if you are not careful. To avoid this, you need to keep them away from heat, sunlight, and moisture. Even too much exposure to air can begin this process. So, our first tip is to always buy your nuts in sealed packages. The loose nuts, though often cheaper, may not last as long. When you get them home, there are a few options on where to store them. Some opt for the pantry, but unless it is particularly cold in there they won’t last too long. Nevertheless, if you are only buying them in relatively small bags (like 250g or thereabouts), this will do fine. It all depends on how quickly you use them.
Should You Refrigerate Pine Nuts?
Pine nuts will last for a good bit longer in the fridge than they will in the pantry. This is especially true for nuts that have already been opened. The main thing you have to watch for is the moisture in your fridge. This can absolutely ruin your pine nuts in no time flat! So, always keep them covered. If the bag is unopened and secure, this will do fine. You can just put them in as they are. However, if you have opened a bag that can’t be resealed, the best thing to do is to transfer them. The best things to put them in are either freezer bags or airtight containers. This way, there will be no possible damage from heat, sunlight, air, or moisture. Jackpot!
Can You Freeze Pine Nuts?
Freezing pine nuts, though it might sound a bit strange, is actually quite common. Pine nuts don’t last too long in the pantry or the fridge, so this is an easy way of buying extra time. So, this is a great option if you have bulk bought and are looking for a long-term storage solution. The same precautions need to be taken as when you are refrigerating your pine nuts. Always keep them in an airtight container or in a freezer bag. There is a lot of moisture in the average freezer that can easily destroy pine nuts. Even in the original packaging, it is best to place them in an airtight container.
How Long Do Pine Nuts Last?
Any nut that is sold without a shell won’t last all that long. Though you may think that they are bullet-proof because they are dry and hard, this simply isn’t the case. They just won’t keep as well as unshelled walnuts or hazelnuts. How long they will last really depends on how they are stored. There are huge differences between frozen pine nuts and pine nuts kept in the pantry. So, to simplify things, we will break down the shelf-life of pine nuts for each method of storage.
Pine nuts stored in the pantry/kitchen cabinet
Because temperatures can vary in the pantry, it is not the best place to store pine nuts. Pine nuts are a little more delicate than most nut varieties. Because of this, it is best to only store them here if you are using them soon. Also, never store an opened bag of pine nuts here – they will go off very quickly. Now, time for the estimate: We would recommend using pine nuts that have been stored in the pantry within 6 weeks. After this, the oils inside will probably have turned somewhat rancid.
Pine nuts stored in the fridge
The fridge will have much more stable temperatures than your pantry or kitchen cabinet. As a result, the oils present in the pine nuts won’t be released as easily. So, that is good news for longevity. In fact, they may even survive in here longer than the sell-by date would have you think. We would recommend using pine nuts stored in the fridge within 4 to 5 months. Of course, if they are not stored in an airtight container, this won’t apply. After 4 or 5 months, the pine nuts will probably still be safe, but they will have lost a lot of their flavor.
How Do I Make Pine Nuts Last Longer?
The main thing to remember to keep your pine nuts at their best is to keep them sealed up. This way, the oils won’t be drawn out of hiding by the heat, air, or moisture. After this, it is simply a case of putting it in the fridge or freezer. Bear in mind, the absolute longest that you will be able to keep them is 5 months (frozen).
Signs That Your Pine Nuts May Have Gone Off
We have talked a lot about oils coming to the surface in this article. Coincidentally enough, this is the exact thing that will cause your pine nuts to go off in most cases. So, when this happens, it will let you know by emitting a foul odor. The sweet scent of the pine nuts will have been almost totally replaced by a bitter, musty smell. Though these pine nuts may well be safe to use, it is not worth taking the risk. At the very best, you will only end up with some funky tasting pesto. The taste will also not be masked by toasting them. It is better to just discard. In rare cases, you may notice some mold developing. If so, they must be chucked out. Moisture has gotten into them at some point and they are now beyond saving.
Well, that’s all we have about pine nuts. We hope you found this little guide someway useful! Thanks for reading!