Walnuts—these strange-looking nuts packed with flavor and nutrients can easily go bad if you’re not careful. No worries, though! There are a few easy steps that you can follow in order to extend their lifespan.
So, is it possible to freeze walnuts?
With just a few easy steps, you can keep your shelled or unshelled walnuts frozen, and they will last up to 12 months in the freezer.
Today, I’m going to discuss the most important questions related to freezing walnuts, including how to freeze and defrost them, the benefits of freezing them, how long they can last in the freezer, and how to tell if walnuts have gone bad.
That being said, let’s dive right into it!
Benefits of Freezing Walnuts
When food is exposed to room temperature for an extended period of time, it can spoil.
Surprisingly, this can apply to foods you don’t normally think of as spoiling, like walnuts!
Walnuts are infamous for easily getting affected by warm temperatures. This is due to the fact that they are very rich in oils, making it faster for them to spoil at room temperature.
But the good news is that the shelf life of walnuts is significantly increased when they’re kept cold in the freezer.
So, freezing walnuts and protecting them from elements like moisture, oxygen, and changes in the temperature, is crucial if you want to extend the expiration date of these delicious nuts.
How to Freeze Walnuts
Freezing Walnuts is not difficult to do. You can freeze walnuts by following some simple steps that will ensure the freshness of these precious nuts and prevent them from going bad.
I recommend that you put your walnuts in a freezer-safe container. A plastic freezer container or a sealable freezer bag are both perfect to use. This way, you’ll prevent air from getting in and keep any undesired moisture at pay.
Before freezing them, it is important to write the date of freezing on the container.
Note: Walnuts can easily absorb the smell of their surrounding food. For this reason, it is crucial to check that they are in a completely airtight container that can protect them from absorbing smells.
As for ground walnuts, it is not a good idea to freeze them. Compared to whole walnuts, ground walnuts usually go bad more quickly in the freezer. It’s much better to freeze the walnuts whole and defrost and grind them later.
So, until you’re prepared to incorporate the walnuts into your dish, you shouldn’t chop or grind them. This way, they will defrost with the best possible flavor.
How to Defrost and Reheat Walnuts?
Frozen walnuts can be defrosted with almost the same ease as they were frozen in the first place.
To defrost walnuts, take them out of your freezer and put them in the refrigerator, where they can gradually thaw over the course of a few hours. For faster results, you can just leave them to thaw on the counter at room temperature. Note, however, that this can cause them to spoil much faster.
The good news is that if you plan on cooking or baking with the walnuts, there is no reason to thaw them at all. You can simply take them out of the freezer, add them directly to your recipe, and the heat will take care of the rest.
You can also use the oven to quickly defrost the walnuts on medium heat for a maximum of 10 minutes. This is a great way to go if you’d like to eat them warm or if you’d like to grind them before placing them in a dish.
How Long Can Walnuts Last in The Freezer?
If you store them in your fridge, unshelled and shelled walnuts can last up to 6 months. To extend their shelf life, you can keep walnuts in the freezer for up to 12 months.
But if you’re keeping the walnuts in your pantry, they will only stay fresh for approximately 3 weeks.
While they will still be safe to eat, they will no longer be as fresh. If you choose to leave them outside the freezer or refrigerator, it is preferable to keep them in a sealed bag.
How to Tell if Walnuts are Rancid?
There are some easy-to-notice signs to know whether walnuts are rancid or not.
Bad unshelled walnuts usually look unhealthy, with shrunk, dry shells. If you find your walnuts looking like that, they are not good to eat and should be thrown away. If you’re looking for more signs, you can always shell them and have a closer look.
You know the walnuts are rancid if nets and mold are starting to form on them.
Still not sure? Try the sniff test. The smell of good walnuts should be mildly nutty, but bad ones smell like rancid oil. Rancid or spoiled walnuts should be thrown away immediately.
Is it Possible to Refreeze Walnuts?
The short answer is yes. It is possible to freeze walnuts more than once.
However, it is preferable to avoid freezing and thawing the walnuts many times, particularly shelled ones, as they are more likely to go bad.
Like any other type of nut, it is always better to separate walnuts before freezing them, so it is easier to take out only the amount you need without having to thaw the whole amount.
To do that, use a baking sheet to spread your walnuts out and freeze them (known as flash freezing). After that, move them to the freezing container.
Freezing Walnuts: Shell or No Shell?
Both shelled, and unshelled walnuts can be kept in the freezer.
However, while you can freeze walnuts in the shell, it will be more work later as you’ll need to deshell the nuts before you can use them. So, if you’re going to freeze walnuts, freezing shelled walnuts will be the quicker option!
Can You Freeze Walnuts – Conclusion
This is basically everything you need to know about freezing walnuts!
So, go ahead and use your frozen walnuts the way you like— defrost and enjoy them on their own, throw them in your cake mix to make a warm walnut cake, or sprinkle them with some sugar and heat everything to make sweet caramelized walnuts—it’s totally up to you how you want to enjoy these tasty treats!