Chances are that when you get your hands on a batch of delicious cashews, they’ll be gone before you know it. But if you choose to buy roasted cashews in bulk to stock up, you may wonder exactly how long you can keep them before they’re not safe to eat. Even with smaller packages, once they’ve been opened, the clock starts ticking. If you’re curious how long these cashews last, or looking for tips on how to extend their shelf life, read on for more information.
Storing Cashew Nuts
One of the reasons people love roasted cashews is for their versatility. In addition to being a great snack by the handful, cashews can also be used in desserts, salads, various dishes, or things like smoothies and natural nut butters. This also means it’s good to have cashews tucked away in the pantry for those days when they’d be a good addition to your recipe. But is that safe?
Because of their high oil levels, cashews are likely to go rancid at some point, much like other nuts. Because cashews are necessarily sold without their shell, they have little protection from natural factors that speed up this process. Exposure to heat, sunlight, and air are all factors that will make cashews go rancid faster, so these are the factors you will want to protect against.
Once you come home from where you can buy cashews, the best thing to do is immediately transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag, which minimizes air exposure. You can do the same thing if you buy raw cashews in a plastic package that you open and need to close again. Roasted cashews that come in a jar or can that can be resealed will be okay as long as the top is replaced tightly.
Once your cashews are in the appropriate container, there is a question of where to store them. Anything in an unopened package will be okay at room temperature until they are opened, and even jars and sealed cans are okay in dark cabinets away from heat. However, once a package has been opened, the nuts are only good in room temperature environments for a short period of time.
Refrigerating or freezing can help them last longer if that is an option. If you choose to go the refrigerator route, the nuts still need to be sealed tightly, as cashews are hygroscopic and will absorb moisture and odors from the environment. Cashews going in the freezer will also need to be in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Shelf Life of Roasted Cashews
For cashews, the discussion of shelf life measures the time it would take for the nut to go rancid and lose its creamy texture and nutritional value. When cashews are bought in bulk and stored properly, they can last for about a month at room temperature or up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Beyond that, freezing would be necessary.
Most pre-packaged cashews will have a best-by date, which will tell you how long you can leave the package unopened in your pantry. This is typically 6 months to a year. Once the package has been opened, roasted cashews will last about 2 weeks in the pantry or a month in the fridge. Again, the freezer will allow you to preserve the cashews long term.
Identifying Rancid Cashews
One of the first ways you know your cashews have gone bad is the presence of mold growth. If you notice any on your nuts, discard the package.
Without obvious signs of mold growth, there are other hints you can look for in your cashews. They may appear visually shriveled, darker, or completely dry, reflecting a brittle consistency. If you’re unsure about the appearance of your roasted cashews, you can taste one to decide if they’re still edible. A bitter taste, brittle consistency, or very dry texture will indicate that the cashews are rancid and should be thrown away. Once cashews have gone rancid, refrigerating or freezing them will not make them good again.
When choosing cashews, it is important to choose nuts that are high quality to begin with and are packaged expertly. Our organic, fair-trade, non-GMO, gluten-free, roasted cashews are available in bulk or packaged in small amounts so that you can make the best decision about quantities and storage for your lifestyle!