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You’re Probably Storing Your Nuts All Wrong

By Tami Weiser
January 13, 2021
Photo Credit: Nataša Mandić

It’s pretty much always a good idea to eat more nuts. Bursting with healthy fats and nutrients, nuts are also relatively easy to add your diet. They’re widely accessible, easily transportable, and they’re a varied bunch, with different tastes and textures. In other words, there’s something for everyone. The disadvantages of nuts are mostly logistical: They’re prone to going rancid, especially if you’re storing them incorrectly. Here’s the right way to store nuts. 

But, First: What Makes Nuts Healthy?

The fats in nuts are quite special. Research studies show that the combination of high monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids in nuts may lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. These fats may also help prevent heart arrhythmias, reduce excessive clotting, and relax blood vessels for easier flow. And they may increase levels of glucagon-like peptide 1 which plays an important role in glucose homeostasis. In addition, nuts are chock full of protein and fiber, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E.  

Of course, freshness is key for nutrient value (and taste). Check those best buy dates, buy nuts from places where tons of nuts are routinely sold, and store them the right way. 

The Right Way to Store Nuts

Although we tend to think of nuts as being shelf-stable, nuts are perishable and need to be stored correctly in order to keep them from going rancid. The right way to store nuts is not in the pantry — it’s in the fridge.

Stored in covered containers in the fridge, nuts will last for for many months. Expert opinions vary as to storage duration, but the rule of thumb in my test kitchen and my home is three months maximum to maintain texture and freshness and ensure the flavors are still vivid. Labelling and dating the label with a chubby, bright  permanent marker will help keep those lovely, naturally-occurring oils from veering into weird and unpleasantly off-kilter territory.

You can also freeze nuts very successfully, so long as the container or bag is sealed well. These can often keep for up to 6 months. and you can often keep them for up to 6 months.

Either way, avoid storing nuts near stinky foods, especially alliums like onions and garlic and brightly-fragranced roots like ginger. The more covered, sealed, and contained those nuts are, the more protected the delicate oil will be.

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