There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on your favorite snacks.
But before you go ham and buy pounds of almonds, you should find out the answer to the most important question:
Do almonds go bad?
This is a legitimate question. In this article, I’ll show you how long almonds stay fresh and how to tell they’ve gone bad.
I’ll also share some tips on perfect conditions for storing almonds.
How Long Do Almonds Last?
When stored in suitable conditions, raw in-shell almonds can last up to 36 months, while whole almonds have a shelf life of about 24 months. By this, I mean they’re kept in a dry and cool place with very little light. If your pantry is not cold enough, you can keep them fresh for this long by storing almonds in a fridge.
Once you open a bag of raw almonds, make sure to transfer them to airtight containers or releasable bags. That way, you won’t shorten their shelf life by keeping them exposed to air and moisture.
The freezer can keep almonds fresh for even longer. In fact, if they’re stored in a properly sealed bag or container and constantly frozen at 32°F, almonds will stay safe indefinitely.
The shelf life of almonds becomes drastically shorter. That can happen when they’re exposed too long to humidity, light, and oxygen. Inshell almonds will stay fresh for about 8 months when stored in the pantry or kitchen cabinets. Ideally, you want them kept at a temperature of around 68°F.
For whole almonds, shelf life at room temperature is up to 4 months. Finally, chopped almonds will stay fresh for only a month or two.
When it comes to roasted almonds, their shelf life is somewhat shorter. That’s because the roasting process causes a change in cell microstructure. That, in return, speeds up oxidation and rancidity. The exact shelf life, however, depends on the roasting process.
Dry roasted almonds can stay fresh for up to 2 years, given they’re stored in a nitrogen flushed packaging. In other words, the bag stays unopened.
Oil roasted almonds have a somewhat shorter shelf life of 18 months. Just keep in mind that almond snacks might contain other ingredients that further extend shelf life.
How To Tell If Almonds Are Bad?
As with any spoiled food, eating almonds that have gone bad can get you sick. When exposed to warmth and moisture, almonds can become a suitable environment for mold and bacterial growth. It’s not a given, but eating spoiled almonds can cause food poisoning or allergic reactions.
In order to avoid that from happening, you’ll need to be able to tell if almonds have gone bad. Luckily, that’s pretty easy. Clear signs of spoilage are:
- Sour, chemical, paint-like smell
- Bitter, harsh flavor
Between the two telltale signs, the change in taste will appear first. So even if they don’t appear to be smelling differently, almonds could be bad. The only way you could be sure is to try one. Don’t worry, you won’t get sick by taking just a tiny bite.
Of course, there could also be some visual indicators of spoilage. These include kernel wrinkling from dryness, mold appearing, or pantry pests flying around.
If that’s the case, you should definitely throw almonds away.
How To Store Almonds
Almonds have low moisture but high fat (oil) content. This makes them stable and tolerating low temps. They’re also rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that promotes a long shelf life.
Almonds retain freshness much longer than other nuts, as long as they’re properly stored. To make the best of their shelf life, store them in a cool, dry, and odor-free place with an ideal temperature is 35 to 45 ˚F.
Why should you avoid placing almonds in a spot with direct sunlight exposure? Well, because the light darkens the shell and decreases its stability. Storage space should also be free of odors. A high oil content causes almonds to easily absorb the smell of other food.
As for the packaging, in-shell almonds stored in pantries should be kept in well-ventilated bags. They already feature a shell that keeps them protected from oxygen and moisture. That means you don’t need to go the extra mile at keeping them safe. Whole almonds, on the other hand, should be stored in airtight containers or Ziploc bags with the air removed.
As we already established, almonds will do pretty well stored in the fridge or freezer with a relative humidity of 60 to 75%. But in that case, you’ll have to keep them in an airtight container. The packaging should be made of plastic or glass to protect them from smells and moisture. Don’t keep them in metal packaging, as it can affect the taste.
But what if you’re short on space in your fridge?
Well, you don’t actually need to refrigerate almonds. In most cases, you can store them in your pantry or a kitchen cabinet that’s away from the stove.
Usually, almonds can last for at least a few months when kept at room temperature. That means there’s a pretty good chance you’ll use them up in a shorter period of time. Keep them in the fridge only if you actually plan on extending their shelf life up to a year or more.
As you can see, almonds are pretty durable snacks.
Ideally, you want to store them in a dry, cool and odorless space. In such conditions, they might last you a few years.
In other words, you’re probably going to go through your pile of almonds way before they’re even close to their expiration date.