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Thread: Do nuts go bad?

  1. #1
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    Question Do nuts go bad?

    I have some walnuts that have been in the pantry for a VERY long time. Maybe two years or so??? Anyways, I've heard of nuts losing their freshness, but do they actually go bad? I'm looking to use them in cookies; would these still work?
    TIA!
    -Amy-

  2. #2
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    Nuts do go bad. They are full of oils that go rancid over time. If they have been in a semi-warm pantry, I'd probably pitch them.
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  3. #3

    Nuts to you!

    You should be able to tell by smell or by taking a little taste, if the nuts are bad. If they taste "off" pitch them. In the future keep nuts in the freezer in a zip bag. They last in there for a very long time.

    Dorothy
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  4. #4
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    If they are bad, you will probably be able to smell it without having to taste them. They will not smell right. I recently opened a snack mix with peanuts in it and pitched that whole bag so fast -- there was no doubt it had gone rancid.

    Most nuts will last up to a year if kept cold, but in the pantry, you won't get more than a couple/few months most likely. Check them, but you will probably need new walnuts.

  5. #5
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    Going "bad" is not a precise term for some foods.
    Oil does go rancid...rancid oil means it has oxidized and is better left uneaten. If you do eat it, it won't kill you, but it will taste bitter and unpleasant.
    Having said that, I had a few people in one of my cooking classes say that they LOVED the rancid flavor from fast food oil....go figure.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  6. #6
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    Nothing else to add here. I would have tasted one. Since I have had a second fridge in this house, I've been keeping my nuts in the fridge. (I go through them too fast to freeze them)

    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat
    Having said that, I had a few people in one of my cooking classes say that they LOVED the rancid flavor from fast food oil....go figure.
    EWWW EWWW EWWWW (wrinkling up my nose)
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat
    Going "bad" is not a precise term for some foods.
    Well, excuuuuuuse me! (Steve Martin on the brain)

    Actually, I think rancid is beyond bad, even if not harmful. Foul, disgusting, putrid. Right up there with rancid. Are the folks who think they like rancid oil sure they are tasting rancid oil as opposed to overused oil? You can have old or less than fresh oil that is not rancid, but has seen too many french fries.

  8. #8
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    Beth,
    most oil that is "over-used" IS rancid, especially fast-food stuff that is VERY overused and the vat is changed infrequently.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  9. #9
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    possible differences--packaging, etc.

    i absolutely agree, rancid oil is easy to smell. otoh, i've kept on hand nuts in vacuum-packaged containers, both from the health-food store (raw cashews in shrink-wrap) and the market (diamond walnuts in 1-lb cans), and they are still fine to use after a year +. i now do make it a habit to store nuts in the freezer when i get a good price and buy a lot, but my real learning experience was with seeds -- sesame and poppy, e.g. -- i never knew they could go rancid until a really bad experience. :-( so now i keep all oil-based seeds (also flax) in the freezer, as opposed to fennel, cumin, caraway, etc.
    What one understands is only half true. What one does not understand is the full truth. ~ Zen saying

  10. #10
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    I just made cookies with pecans, the package said best before '03 and they taste fine.

  11. #11
    I buy nuts in bulk and freeze them as soon as I bring them home. This prevents a potential old, rancid, bad nut situation.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat
    Beth,
    most oil that is "over-used" IS rancid, especially fast-food stuff that is VERY overused and the vat is changed infrequently.
    What I have experience with has absorbed flavors, but it is not to the point of being rancid. Not looking to argue -- was just being a bit silly with the "excuse me." I don't want it old or rancid -- but the point was that if nuts are rancid, you can smell the difference.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth
    What I have experience with has absorbed flavors, but it is not to the point of being rancid. Not looking to argue -- was just being a bit silly with the "excuse me." I don't want it old or rancid -- but the point was that if nuts are rancid, you can smell the difference.
    Beth, I didn't mean to seem like we were arguing
    I knew you were joking with the excuse me...heck, I LOOVE Steve Martin

    I was simply trying to say that at the point that oil becomes rancid, sometimes it is hard to detect with smell and only if you are a super-taster can you make out that icky flavor with taste...but oxidation (rancidity) has already taken place.

    I agree...I'd prefer not to eat it.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  14. #14
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    I didn't want to seem argumentative either -- that's why I said something. You're right. If old oil has absorbed other flavors, it would be harder to know that it was rancid. I'm not sure if I've seen or tasted it, but it's okay with me if I don't.

  15. #15
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    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  16. #16

    They might.....

    While literally reading this, I ate some raw almonds & cashews that have been in plastic bags in my room for about six months or so. I ate maybe a few ounces of them and am still here.... They definitely lose their freshness, but like smelling bad milk, I think there's no doubt when something isn't worth even trying. Maybe it's God's way of letting us know for sure. I detected no such smell with the nuts and besides not being as fresh as new ones, the taste was like I would expect. Hope this helped some people.

  17. #17
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    I vacuum pack all my nuts in pint or quart jars. They seem to keep their freshness When I need to use the nuts, I pour out what I need and then reseal the container. I DO NOT REFRIGERATE OR FREEZE THEM.
    Curleytop

  18. #18
    I store all types of nuts, including coconut, in the freezer (glass container). They are always perfect when I need them.

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