Nutritious and delicious, walnuts can be enjoyed on their own or added to desserts and savory dishes for a delectable crunch! This popular nut harvested late August through November so it’s not available all year round. For true blue walnut fans out there, we’re happy to report that this nut variety keeps well in storage! But what about freezing? Can you freeze walnuts? The short answer is yes, you can also freeze walnuts for long-term storage.
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You see, walnuts could go rancid when exposed to warm temperature. Walnuts are best kept in chilly temps to extend their shelf life. That’s because walnuts are high in oil, which could go bad really quickly when left at room temperature for a certain period.
When kept in the pantry, an unopened bag of shelled or in-shell walnuts will only keep for about 2 to 3 weeks. When kept in the fridge, the nuts will stay fresh for 4 to 6 months. But when kept in the freezer, walnuts will stay fresh for a year or more. For freezing, the storage conditions must be at a stable 0°F to maintain the freshness of the nuts.
If you’re storing walnuts, it’s best to leave the bag unopened until you’re ready to use/consume the nuts. For leftovers, always use an airtight container because the humid temp is the enemy here. Below is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze walnuts:
Image used under Creative Commons from U.S. Department of Agriculture
How to Freeze Walnuts?
Shelled and in-shell walnuts could be packed the same way. If you’re freezing an unopened bag of walnuts, just stick the whole pack in the freezer. There’s no need to prep the nuts as long as they are kept in their original packaging.
As for leftover walnuts, it’s best to transfer the nuts to an airtight container or resealable plastic bags prior to storage. Just pour nuts into the resealable plastic bag or airtight container and seal. Then, write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.
If say, you need to ground the walnut before you use them, do not ground the nuts before storage. Do this after storage, when you’re ready to use the nuts. Walnuts tend to absorb the odors of food with a strong aroma and this ruins the flavor of the nuts. Apart from keeping the nuts in an airtight container, do not process (chop, ground, etc.) unless you’re ready to add the nuts to your recipe. This ensures optimal flavors once the nuts are thawed.
How to Defrost and Reheat Walnuts?
To defrost frozen walnuts, just transfer the pack of nuts from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the nuts to thaw for a few hours to overnight. As for reheating the walnuts, it’s not necessary to reheat if the nuts will go straight into cooking. Just chuck the defrosted nuts into the dish as it cooks. But for walnuts that require toasting, you can reheat them in the oven or stove.
Image used under Creative Commons from Chris Brown
If you’re using an oven, preheat the oven to 375°Farenheit. Then, line the baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the shelled walnuts. Stick the walnuts in the oven and toast for 5 to 10 minutes or until the nuts turn a golden brown.
If you’re toasting the walnuts on the stove, heat a skillet over medium high and place the walnuts carefully. Do not overfill the skillet, just fit enough so the nuts cook evenly. Stir the walnuts occasionally until they start to brown, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer the nuts to a plate and leave them to cool for a few minutes.
Walnuts add a delicious crunch to everyday desserts and dishes! It’s nice to know that you can buy walnuts in bulk and store the rest for later. Now that you know how can you freeze walnuts, you can enjoy these delectable (and healthy!) nuts all year round.