Pantry Staple Post #1: Oh Nuts

Some quick advice on how to avoid old, weird tasting nuts.

Maybe I’m late to the game, but I’ve always accepted the weird aftertaste of my nuts in my pantry. They tended to slowly absorb the plastic taste of their packaging. Recently, some old sunflower seeds turned a perfectly good salad into a very depressing lunch, so much so I only could take a few bites. I’m over it. I need action; I need change.

Last night, I found a bag of walnuts in the back of my pantry and again, crappy. There was a nice recipe on the packaging for maple-roasted walnuts that I thought would surely mask the mustiness. I heated butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and chili powder on the stove, then coated the walnuts and baked. The smell was incredible. My house smelled like fall, like a cool night at the state fair. Then I tried the walnuts. Did they suck less? Yes. But were they good? No. (I do think the recipe would have been amazing with some fresher nuts.)

I’ve always heard to store your nuts in the freezer to make them last longer. About a month ago, I put some pecans in the freezer, because I was gifted a couple pounds and honestly I had more room in my freezer than my pantry at that moment. But I did this reluctantly. I didn’t think I kept nuts long enough to ‘go bad’. What is a bad nut anyway? And I didn’t think it would work. I was double-wrong.

When your nuts start to taste like musty plastic, THEY ARE BAD. Duh. Like maybe not food poisoning bad, but bad enough to not eat. Bad enough to ruin a batch of cookies or a crisp salad. But when you put nuts in the freezer, they stay amazing. Nuts have such little water content that they don’t really freeze. I thought I would bite into my pecan and not be able to put a dint in it, like pulling out a piece of frozen fruit. I thought there would be thaw time. Nope, I grabbed a handful. The first one was cold, obviously, but still the same texture as a room-temp pecan. By my fourth pecan half, the warmth of my hand made the rest of the pecans taste just like a normal, fresh pecan.

So the moral of this post, keep space in your freezer for your nuts, always. Unless you think you’re going to eat a bag in a couple weeks, just do yourself a favor and store them in the freezer.

I had some equally disappointing experience with raisins this week. Probably because the use by date was eight months ago. I wonder if freezing dried fruit would work. I was cautious about frozen nuts, and frozen raisins have my head turning. To be determined if I risk my raisins for a new experiment.

Interested in more info on nuts?

Most sites recommend nuts and seeds be stored up to a year in the freezer. Many websites also recommend nut flours be stored in the freezer, which makes a ton of sense. Move over frozen bag of peas, almond flour is your new neighbor.

Info on how to properly store nuts and seeds, click here. I keep mine in a airtight containers, but I’m sure there are even fancier ways to do so.

Info on other random things to freeze, click here. Butter and bread are my faves.

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