Keeping Raw Almonds and Cashews Tasty
The way you store raw almonds and cashews depends on how quickly you plan to use the nuts. If you plan to eat them within a few months in your morning cereal, as afternoon snacks or in stir-fry or cookie recipes, storage isn't a problem. But safety and taste problems develop after several months at room temperature, and over time even if you store the nuts in the freezer. Almonds and cashews are not inexpensive foods, so it makes sense to store them with care so they don't go to waste or make you ill.
Raw almonds and cashews stay safe to eat and maintain their crunchy texture stored at room temperature for four to six months. In the refrigerator, cashews last for six months, while almonds last for about nine months. And in the freezer, cashews last for one year, while almonds last for one to two years. While the nuts remain safe in the freezer, they lose their distinctive texture.
Why Nuts Go Bad
Both almonds and cashews contain high amounts of healthy, natural oils, but those oils can go rancid when they are exposed to air. You'll know when the nuts go bad because they develop a strong, unpleasant odor. The nuts are not unsafe to eat, but they taste more bitter than fresher nuts. In the refrigerator, the oils in the nuts breaks down more slowly, and the nuts retain their original flavor.
Air, heat and light all contribute to the breakdown of the oils in almonds and cashews. Choose a container for the nuts that minimizes those factors, and keep nuts in a cabinet to reduce their exposure to light. Either glass jars or plastic containers, with airtight lids, work fine for storage. Don't use metal or wood containers, because the nuts might absorb some flavors from those materials. For the freezer, use freezer-grade plastic bags to keep out moisture.
Storing Homegrown Nuts
Before storing homegrown nuts, you need to take special precautions to get rid of insects and their eggs. Storing the nuts in the refrigerator as soon as you harvest prevents the pests from surviving and destroying the nuts. If you plan to store the nuts at room temperature, freeze them, wrapped well in freezer-grade plastic, for 48 hours to kill the insects and their eggs. After freezing the nuts, store them at room temperature as you would fresh commercial nuts.
Because roasted nuts are typically cooked with additional oil, they contain more oil overall than raw nuts. Just as the natural oils in the nuts can go rancid, so too can the added oil. Shorten the time you store roasted nuts at room temperature and in the refrigerator to account for the additional oil.