Skip to Content

Do Walnuts Go Bad

Do Walnuts Go Bad

Can Walnuts Go Bad

Walnuts can go bad. The fresh nutty, and sweet taste of walnuts can go rancid with a paint-thinner smell if walnuts are exposed to warm temperatures for long periods. This smell and off-taste indicate that the walnuts are gone bad.

Whole walnuts can be stored in three ways: at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer. Storing at room temperature will only keep the nuts fresh for a short time. Walnuts can be used immediately as they defrost fairly quickly at room temperature.

Although it is possible to store shelled walnuts in the pantry, this is not recommended as their quality deteriorates quite quickly, especially if you live in a humid environment or high temperatures. The longer you store unshelled nuts, the more rancid they become, just like their shelled relatives. If you store shelled walnuts in the refrigerator, they won’t go rancid for up to six months. In other words, the longer you store shelled walnuts, the more likely they are to crack and become rancid.

Shelled walnuts tend to retain their quality longer, and some kernels are likely to perform well in older walnuts as well. They can also last a lot longer or go bad sooner, but that should give you a good idea of ​​what to expect.

Just like in the pantry, shelled walnuts will last longer or shorter, but they can last 18 months or more. Even when preserved, walnuts don’t last longer than four weeks in the pantry. Walnuts that have been shelled can usually last up to a month in the pantry, or sometimes two if kept in an airtight bag or container. Walnuts will only keep for one year in the refrigerator.

Learn to know the benefits of using walnuts and best ways to store nuts to last the longest

If you store them in a cool, dry place, such as an airtight container, they can last up to a year. Nuts are dried fruits, and like most nuts, refrigerated or frozen, they keep for up to six months. You’ll find that your shelled walnuts can keep in the freezer for up to 12 months, and chopped or ground walnuts for up to six months.

Walnuts1 year18 to 24 months3 weeks
Shell Life of Walnuts when stored properly in different places.

Walnuts have a shelf life of approximately 12 months in the refrigerator and 24 months in the freezer (FK, UOC). Whole or shelled walnuts can last up to a year in your pantry. At least some nuts in a stored batch may dry out or go bad after 12 months. If still in the shell, you can expect high-quality nuts to stay fresh for at least 12 months.

With walnuts still in their shells, it doesn’t make sense to store them in the refrigerator, as they can last up to a year in the pantry and out of direct sunlight. If you keep shelled walnuts in the refrigerator, you can enjoy them year-round. You should keep them covered or in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

To learn about how to tell if canned salmon is bad, check out my other article where I cover things in detail.

If you have not opened the package of nuts, there is no need to seal them in an airtight container, you can simply put the package in the refrigerator or freezer. Therefore, once the seal on the package breaks, it is best to reseal and place the shelled walnuts in the refrigerator or freezer if you want to store them for a long time, and ideally use a vacuum-sealed food bag. Since walnuts can become rancid if not stored properly, the best way to preserve walnuts is to buy shelled walnuts and store them in the refrigerator or even freeze them.

If canned walnuts smell like rancid oil, used vegetable oil, or even paint thinner, they have gone bad and should be disposed of. If you store walnuts well, you can enjoy them anytime without worrying about your walnuts going bad. In many situations, you can leave walnuts in your pantry or kitchen and you’ll be fine.

If the nuts are okay, but they taste a little stale and maybe not as crunchy as you would like, you can fix it. If you’ve checked everything and still can’t tell if your nuts have gone bad, you can try some of them. Even if your nuts look and smell healthy, they may have started to spoil.

Rancid walnuts will have a bitter taste and are inedible, and you should often throw away stale nuts. This is due to the oil inside the nuts, which turns sour over time, giving them a bitter taste and making them unpalatable. As with whole shelled walnuts, the longer they are stored, the more likely they are to spoil and taste bitter – no one wants to eat or use bitter walnuts in desserts.

Want to know how long does bacon last, go through my other article.

The last thing you want is for nuts to go bad before you’re ready to eat them. The general rule of thumb is that refrigeration keeps the nuts fresh.

When the nuts have been refrigerated, the shelf life can be extended up to 6 months. Note that packaged nuts may last a couple of months longer, especially if you store them in the refrigerator or freeze them, because the date on the label is only an approximation. The University of California (UCANR) guidelines state that in-shell walnuts last four months and in-shell walnuts three months in the pantry.

Can bad walnuts make you sick?

If bad nuts are eaten in small amounts, they may not make you sick immediately. However, it is advised to be wary of expiration dates since stale nuts can have long-term, harmful effects on your body such as indigestion. Make sure to store your nuts in airtight containers or a refrigerator to avoid such effects.

How to store walnuts

Store your walnuts in a dry place. If you have opened the packet, make sure that it is kept in an airtight container, or in a refrigerator to keep them cool and dry. If you plan on storing walnuts for a longer period of time, they can even be frozen for up to a year.