Can cashews go bad?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can cashews go bad?” and will discuss how to properly store the cashew nuts.

Can cashew nuts go bad?

Yes, cashews can go bad. The development of mold is one of the first signs that your cashews have gone bad. There are a few telltale signs that cashews are rancid: an unpleasant flavor, a brittle consistency, or an extremely dry texture. Rancidity is due to oxidation of lipids and lead to the generation of off-flavors and degradation of colors and nutrients (1).  No amount of refrigerating or freezing cashews can restore their freshness.

How to Keep Cashew Nuts Fresh Long-Term?

Whether as a nutritious snack or an ingredient in a variety of cuisines, cashews may be used in a variety of ways. Regardless of how you want to use them, you must understand how to properly store these nuts.

Because cashews are heavy in oil, they will get rancid at some time like other nuts like almonds or pecans.

Things that hasten up the deterioration of food include exposure to heat, sunshine, and the atmosphere itself. In addition, these nuts lack natural protection against these causes since they are offered without their shells. Let’s take a look at what you may do to extend the life of your investments.

To begin, here are some suggestions on where to keep them. After purchasing cashews in bulk, such as a brown bag, you should store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. As a result, less air is being exposed.

Open the plastic bag if you purchased them and place them in one of the containers listed above. For example, if they arrive in an airtight container, you may store them in the jar before and after you open them. Ideal storage conditions for nuts are generally low temperatures (from 4 to 15°C), low moisture content (around 2.5%), low relative humidity (40–60%), low oxygen concentration (< 2.5%) and dark conditions (2).

Where to store cashew?

In most cases, pre-packaged cashews may be kept at room temperature until opened. In the jar or plastic container, they are safe but keep them out of direct sunlight and other sources of heat. Storage conditions determine the shelf life of the nuts, because light incidence, high temperatures, oxygen exposure and high humidity accelerate oxidation processes of lipids (2).

The quality of the nuts only lasts a short time after the package is opened. Refrigeration or freezing is the only option if you want to keep the food fresh for longer. Cashews purchased in bulk have the same fate as those purchased individually. For short-term storage, store items at room temperature; for long-term storage, place them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Remember that cashews are hygroscopic when it comes to refrigerating them. Because they tend to collect moisture and absorb strong aromas from their surroundings, ensure they’re well sealed.

Be cautious while freezing cashews, since the nuts may be easily harmed during the freezing process. For this, the best options are airtight containers or freezer bags. Using resealable bags saves room in the freezer while also being more environmentally friendly. Before closing the box, make sure to remove as much air as possible. If the original container is well-sealed and freezer-friendly, you may use it. Studies demonstrated that nuts stored at -20°C had better kernel quality, lower level of lipidic oxidation and a higher antioxidant activity compared with nuts stored at 0°C (3).

For how long may cashews be stored in the pantry?

The rancidity of cashews is well known. Rancidity is more prevalent in these nuts than in other types of foods. Shelf life refers to how long an item may be stored without being rancid and losing its creamy flavor and nutritional content.

Let’s begin with a wholesale purchase of raw cashews. These may be stored in the pantry for up to a month, but at 30°C for 3 weeks (2), and in the fridge for up to six months. Freeze them for long-term storage. It is important to keep them safe from humidity, thus a high water activity decreases the shelf life and develops molds or other microorganisms. Water activity is the amount of free water available in food samples that is able to take part in enzymatic, physical and chemical reactions (2).

Most cashews in pre-packaged form have a “best-by” date. This also implies that the nuts may be kept in the pantry or kitchen until then, unopened. You may not have known this, but the shelf life varies greatly across merchants and manufacturers. Typically, it lasts between six months to a year, although this might vary. It’s all down to how the nuts are handled before they’re put into the package.

Once opened, the nuts should keep in the pantry for two weeks and in the refrigerator for roughly a month. You may freeze the cashews again if you need to keep them for a longer period. 

If you keep the nuts in the refrigerator, they’ll likely stay longer before becoming rancid, but it’s impossible to know precisely how long.

How to tell if cashews have gone bad?

For nuts that have been in the cupboard for a long time, look for evidence of mold development. The nuts should be thrown away if there are any. When cashews are at their height of freshness, they tend to have a pleasing scent and a creamy flavor. However, with time, the nuts will darken and become more brittle. However, many volatile compounds are produced by nuts and oils during lipid oxidation and they can be easily noticed, thus they have strong characteristic odors and off-flavors (2).

Another indicator of degeneration is the development of shriveled, darker skin. Let them go when they’re entirely dry.

To determine if the nuts are still edible despite their poor appearance, you may try one and see whether it’s still okay to eat. Cashews that have become bitter indicate that they are already rotten and should be discarded.

Other FAQs about Cashews that you may be interested in.

Can you eat cashew fruit?

Is a cashew a nut?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can cashews go bad?” and discussed how to properly store the cashews.

References

  1. Vieira, Samantha A., Guodong Zhang, and Eric A. Decker. Biological implications of lipid oxidation products. J. Am. Oil Chem.’ Soc., 2017, 94, 339-351.
  2. Gama, Tsvakai, et al. Quality and shelf life of tree nuts: A review. Sci hortic, 2018, 242, 116-126.
  3. Ma, Yanping, et al. Physiochemical Responses of the Kernel Quality, Total Phenols and Antioxidant Enzymes of Walnut in Different Forms to the Low-Temperature Storage. Foods, 2021, 10, 2027.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.