Although they’re one of fall’s most sought after bounties, you need to learn how to store walnuts carefully to avoid spoilage. Most nuts can be stored for week – or even months – at room temperature, but walnuts are prone to rancidity and staleness. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to store walnuts, as long as you follow a few simple steps.
- Keep them cool. Above all else, walnuts must stay cool. Keep your walnuts in the fridge for anywhere up to 6 months or in the freezer for a year (or more).
- Lock out air. You can use a plastic container, a vacuum sealed bag or a heavy duty freezer bag, but you have to keep air away from your walnuts. If exposed to air, walnuts turn stale quickly.
- Leave the shells on. You can save fridge or freezer space by leaving the walnuts in their shell. As long as the unshelled nuts are kept in a cool, dry location, they will keep for up to 3 months.
- Use them quickly. While it won’t help you store them, there are dozens of ways you can use extra walnuts before they go bad. Consider making a batch of walnut fudge or a Waldorf salad, or experiment with walnuts as a substitution for peanuts and cashews in Asian dishes.
Most walnuts, including black walnuts, store well in hanging mesh bags. This allows the air to circulate without the risk of moisture building up below the nuts.
Don’t consume suspect walnuts. Walnut meat should be white to off-white and soft. If the meat is yellow-tinged, hard or shriveled, throw it away.