Can out-of-date pine nuts make you sick? (+5 Safety Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can out-of-date pine nuts make you sick?”, and how to store pine nuts?

Can out-of-date pine nuts make you sick?

Out-of-date pine nuts may or may not make you sick. If they are spoiled or rancid, they will make you sick. You may experience symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Like other nuts, pine nuts stay good a couple of months past the printed date, so, they might be safe to eat If they were stored correctly. 

The symptoms of food poisoning should be gone within 3 days. If they persist or in case of severe dehydration, consult your healthcare provider.

Read on If you want to learn about the storage of pine nuts. This article also includes a recipe card for making homemade pesto.

How to store pine nuts?

  • Like any other nut, pine nuts are rich in oils that are highly susceptible to spoilage. Therefore, pine nuts must be protected against temperature fluctuations, heat, moisture, and air to avoid rancidity. Rancidity is simply the oxidation of fats when exposed to oxygen, water, metallic atoms, or microbes.
  • Pine nuts are mostly sold in the shelled form, therefore, demand care to prevent spoilage. Without shells, pine nuts are directly exposed to every kind of contaminant, heat, moisture, and oxygen. 
  • Pine nuts need a cold storage environment. Therefore, keep your pine nuts stored in the fridge or the freezer. An unopened sealed package of pine nuts can be put in the fridge as is. Once opened, transfer the pine nuts to an air-tight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. 
  • A perfectly sealed environment will protect the pine nuts against moisture in the fridge. For long-term storage of pine nuts, freezing is the way to go. 
  • Before freezing, pine nuts must be transferred to a heavy-duty freezer bag or air-tight container to protect against freezer burn.

How long do pine nuts last?

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of pine nuts in different storage conditions. 

In the fridge In the freezer 
Pine nuts (unopened or opened)Best-by + 1 monthBest-by + 3+ months

The shelf-life of different types of nuts 

In the pantry In the fridge In the freezer
Past Printed DatePast Printed DatePast Printed Date
Almonds 9-12 months 1 year 2 years 
Brazil nuts 9 months 1 year 1 year 
Cashews 6-9 months 1 year 2 years 
Hazelnuts 4-6 months 1 year 1 year 
Macadamias 6-9 months1 year 2 years 
Peanuts 6-9 months1 year 2 years 
Pecans 6 months 1 year 2 years 
Pistachios 3 months 
Walnuts 6 months 1 year 1-2 years 

How to tell If pine nuts have gone bad?

  • Rancid nuts are considered safe for consumption but they taste awful. Pesto with rancid pine nuts does not sound like a good idea. So feel free to discard rancid pine nuts for quality purposes. 

If the rancid smell is subtle and is coming from only a few nuts, you should use the pine nuts right away before they all go rancid. 

  • Taste a few pine nuts and If they taste butter, throw them away.

How to make your own pesto with pine nuts?

This pesto sauce can be used as a vegetable dip, stirred into mashed potatoes, eaten along with eggs, grilled meat, or pasta. It can also be used to make pesto butter or stuffed in chicken breast.


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. In a food processor, grind basil leaves with garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to season and adjust the taste according to your taste. 

Now add oil slowly so that it is emulsified properly with the rest of the mixture.

  1. Transfer the pesto to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for about 1 week.

Tips for making pesto

  1. Pesto is not limited to basil. You can make it with other herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, sage, chives, or alternate varieties of basil (such as lemon basil or Thai basil).
  1. Pesto can also be made with vegetables like spinach, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, roasted bell peppers, or kale.
  1. Making pesto doesn’t have to be heavy on your pocket. You can swap the pricey pine nuts with walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, or pepitas. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can out-of-date pine nuts make you sick?”, and how to store pine nuts?



Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.