We all know how almonds are beneficial for our health, actually, almost all nuts are. Of course, if consumed in moderation. A handful of nuts a day can lower your cholesterol and weight, and it will maintain your heart and brain in good shape.
Did you ever buy more almonds than you can handle? This happened to me a lot since almonds, like all other nuts, are sold in large bags. That made me question what happens with them if they are left open for a longer time. Do almonds go bad? Can I still eat them if I found an opened bag that was sitting in the pantry forgotten for months?
Stay tuned to find out all you ever wanted to know about storing almonds.
How To Store Almonds?
Like all other nuts, almonds are at their best when stored at cold temperatures like in the fridge or in the freezer, especially if they are raw! If you ever bought almond flour or almond butter, you know they must be kept in the fridge or freezer, so why would almonds in their original form be any different.
Almonds contain a lot of oils, which unfortunately tend to turn rancid if stored in not-so-good conditions. This means you should avoid storing them in places exposed to warm temperatures, significant temperature fluctuations, and moisture since this will spoil your nuts in no time.
The bad thing about nuts is that they tend to pick up on other smells, so they can’t be stored without a proper package that will keep those smells far away. As I said, the fridge or the freezer will provide a suitable temperature for your almonds. The only thing you need to take care of is moisture and strong odors.
This can easily be solved with proper packaging. If the original package stays sealed tightly, there is no need to worry, and in case the package is resealable you will be able to continue using it even after opening. If the packaging is bad or not in good condition, replace it with an airtight container or a freezer bag.
If you decide to store the raw almonds for the long term, freezing is the only choice, but make sure you protect them from freezer burns. The original packaging, freezer bag, or airtight container will provide a safe atmosphere for your almonds.
When we talk about roasted almonds with seasoning, you should always follow the storage instructions written on the label. Usually, you can store them at room temperature in a tightly-closed container when not in use.
If the package isn’t resealable, make sure you transfer almonds to the proper container after opening. No matter if the producer does not require you to refrigerate the almonds upon opening, you should still do that and keep them fresh. Remember, the fridge is always a better option for almonds than the pantry, whether raw or roasted.
Why Do Almonds Turn Rancid?
Almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. This means they are an excellent option for a heart-healthy diet, but on the other hand, those fats also make almonds very perishable. They will start to turn rancid when they are exposed to oxygen, especially at room temperature.
When oil turns rancid, it will make almonds taste bad and go stale. The good thing to know is that staled almonds are not poisonous, but they lose all the beneficial properties of fatty acids. Of course, they are not harmful if you do not consume them in the long run.
Almonds do last longer than other nuts because of the phytochemical antioxidants that protect them and extend their shelf life, but when they start tasting different, it is time to toss them out.
How Long Do Almonds Last
How long almonds will last in your household mainly depends on how they are produced, processed, packed, and finally stored. But don’t get fooled; they can go bad quickly if they are not kept as recommended.
Let’s begin with raw almonds. You should be able to store them for about two years or even more. But you should be sure they will stay fresh and in excellent condition for at least 12 months. But only in the fridge or freezer!
Unopened roasted almonds always come with the best by date on the label, but it is roughly estimated that they can withstand two weeks in the pantry and four weeks in the fridge. Of course, they won’t turn rancid a week past that date, but their quality will deteriorate over time, so they will soon taste nothing similar to what you are used to.
Once you open up the package, try to finish your snacks as soon as possible. If you are in doubt and there are no instructions on the label, you can be sure that they will last at least two weeks in the pantry and a month in the fridge.
Plain roasted almonds will stay good for up to a year in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer without any kind of seasoning. In case you like to make homemade almond paste, you will be able to keep it fresh for two years in the fridge.
Things That Shorten The Shelf Life Of Almonds
A few factors will shorten the shelf life of almonds:
- The first one is the size of the pieces.
- Also, a whole almond with its skin tends to stay fresh for a longer time since it is protected with the coat.
- Never store your almonds in a metal container since specific properties of the metal can leach out into the nuts, causing them to turn rancid.
- Almonds that have been roasted, chopped, or prepared in any other way tend to have a higher moisture content that can make almonds go bad quicker.
How to Tell if Almonds Have Gone Rancid
Like with all other products, start by looking for the usual signs of spoilage like mold or dark spots. The next thing to do to smell them properly, if they smell like rancid oil, the time has come to part your ways.
The last thing to do is to give them a taste. They can develop a bitter taste, which does not mean they are not safe to use, and it’s up to you if you keep them or get rid of them. This only means their quality started to deteriorate.
The story with almond snacks is pretty similar. If they look alright, take an almond or two and give them a taste to check their quality. If the flavor stayed intact and you are sure you did not store them for too long already, you are good to go. Otherwise, toss them out.
Salmonella Risk From Almonds – True Or False?
There are some stories that you can get salmonella from raw almonds. Well, let’s see If that is true or not.
In general, you should be safe from salmonella when it comes to almonds since salmonella usually comes from raw eggs and raw chicken. But there are two cases of salmonella outbreaks in the US related to consuming raw almonds. That is why it is highly recommended to roast, blanch, or process almonds in any other way. They won’t lose nutritional benefits when processed, but they will surely be salmonella-free.
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes basic food-borne illness symptoms such as upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dizziness. Make sure you contact your doctor if you develop these symptoms, and you know you ate raw almonds.
In A Nutshell
I know we’ve all been guilty of snacking on almonds that we are not so sure how long they exactly spent sitting in the pantry opened or unopened. They were mostly fine; only a few of them had that yucky stale taste, but the point is that we can never be sure how spoiled food can affect our bodies.
So next time you buy some almonds, make sure to label the date so you can keep track of how long you stored them and if they are safe to use. Now that you know how to store them, you can safely buy them in bulk and be sure they will last you a long time.