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Food Storage Tips: How to Store Peanuts Long-Term
Did you know that peanuts are technically a type of legume and not a nut? That’s because they grow in pods. Although peanuts are rich in healthy fats and oils that make them delicious, high oil content can also be their pitfall when it comes to longevity.
In this article, we go over how to store peanuts long-term. We’ll also talk about the shelf life of peanuts and whether it’s better to store them shelled or unshelled. When shelled, peanuts have a max shelf life of 1 year in the freezer, and unshelled peanuts have a max shelf life of 2 years in the freezer. Read on to learn more.
Guide to Storing Peanuts Long-Term
To keep peanuts fresh, you need to keep the moisture, light, heat, and oxygen at bay to avoid rancidification. Rancidification is when the fats in the peanuts oxidize, and it ruins the taste beyond salvaging.
Don’t worry; we’ll tell you exactly how to do that:
1. Make Sure the Peanuts Are Dry
When you store nuts, make sure they are dry before storing them to prevent mold growth. If the peanuts are store-bought, they’ll probably be dry already.
However, if you harvest them from your garden, they’ll likely be moist. To dry them, put them in a single layer on a mat in an airy room for a day or two.
2. Place the Peanuts in an Airtight Container
One way to store peanuts is to place them in airtight bags such as Ziploc bags, mylar bags, or vacuum-sealed bags. Glass mason jars are also a popular food storage tool because they’ll keep a constant moisture level and can’t be torn by rodents.
Note: The main downside of using airtight bags is that they are not effective against rodents.
Related Article: Long-Term Food Storage in Mason Jars
Related Article: How to Store Food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners
3. Create a Vacuum Around the Peanuts
Vacuum sealers, like a FoodSaver, are great because they suction out all the air from the bag. Plus, they can extend the lifespan way more than regular airtight containers. However, do keep in mind that oxygen will begin to leak back into the bag over time (unless you use a mylar bag).
4. Use Oxygen Absorbers
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can buy oxygen absorber packets and place them in the bags before closing them. As the name suggests, oxygen absorbers remove the oxygen from a container, making them helpful tools for long-term storage. O2 absorbers can be placed in an airtight container or bag.
Note: that you’ll have to replace the oxygen absorbers each time you open the bags.
Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets
5. Storing Your Peanuts Away
Finally, you can store peanuts in a cool, dry place. Ideally, you should aim to keep your peanuts in a place where they will not be exposed to environmental aggressors like heat, air, moisture, and light. A pantry, fridge, or freezer would be ideal storage locations.
Pro Tips: If you plan to store more than one batch, make sure to label each with the date of packaging and use old bags before new ones.
Storing Shelled Peanuts vs. Unshelled Peanuts
You can store your peanuts either with their shells intact or removed. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here’s how long each will stay last on average:
Pantry (Room Temperature) Refrigerator Freezer
Shelled Peanut 3 Months 6 Months 1 Year
Unshelled Peanut 4 Months 1 Year 2 Years
Even though unshelled peanuts have a longer shelf life, you may choose to remove the shells before freezing for the sake of convenience.
That’s because you want to be able to use them right after thawing. Plus, peeling off peanut shells once they’re frozen is harder.
Shelf Life of Peanuts
Peanuts can last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. The shelf life depends on the condition of the nuts and the temperature at which they’re stored.
Whole peanuts will last longer than chopped ones. The reason chopped ones will go rancid quickly is that they have a larger surface area that can absorb heat and moisture.
The same goes for salted vs. unsalted peanuts since salt is particularly good at preserving food by dehydrating it and keeping microbes at bay.
Alternatively, some people might opt to fill the containers with honey and keep them at room temperature. This is because honey is naturally antibacterial and will also lock out air. However, this may not be feasible in large quantities because it would be too expensive.
With regards to temperature, the less heat exposure, the longer the peanuts will stay fresh. Heat is one of the main causes of causing nuts to go rancid.
When you store peanuts in airtight containers at room temperature (no more than 77°F or 25°C), they can be good for around three months as long as your pantry is dark and dry.
In the refrigerator, peanuts can last around six months. You just have to keep them away from pungent foods like cheese and onions since peanuts can absorb the surrounding scents.
Lastly, freezing gives the longest lifespan. Shelled raw peanuts will last 1 year, and unshelled raw peanuts will last 2 years in the freezer.
How to Tell if Peanuts have Gone Rancid?
There are a few indicators to look out for that tell your peanut stash has gone bad.
1. Look for Mold
In excess humidity, the fungus could grow on peanuts. You can tell that this is the case if you spot a fluffy greenish substance on top. When nuts become moldy, they produce aflatoxins which are highly poisonous when ingested and irritating when inhaled.
So, avoid sniffing moldy peanuts to “make sure they’re ok” because they’re not. Sadly, you’ll have to discard them.
2. Rely on Your Sense of Smell
If there are no signs of mold, feel free to do a sniff test to check; it’s safe to smell those. After all, it’s easy to identify rancid peanuts because of their strong sour smell.
It’s harmful to eat rancid peanuts because, in large quantities, they can cause an upset stomach. However, not all scents indicate that the bag is spoiled, though. Peanuts can absorb odors when stored near pungent foods. Luckily, these can be completely safe to consume.
3. Examine for Signs of Pests
Some common pests to expect with peanuts are aphids, mites, moths, and weevils. However, these usually come with the crop instead of taking over a bag of spoiled peanuts. If you store the peanuts with oxygen absorbers, then the pest cannot survive inside an airtight container.
Also, you should be mindful of rodents as they can bite through a sealed bag and contaminate them with feces.
People Also Ask
Some common questions we have come by are:
Shelf Life of Roasted Peanuts
When kept in an airtight container, the shelf life of roasted peanuts in the freezer is 12 months. In the fridge, it can be stored for up to 6 months and six weeks in a pantry. This applies to both shelled and unshelled roasted peanuts.
Shelf Life of Peanut Butter
Unopened peanut butter jars can last up to 6-9 months in a pantry or as long as 18 months in the freezer. Once opened, the peanut butter should be consumed within 2-3 months. This can be extended to 3-4 months if stored in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer. Since peanut butter has a high oil content, once it’s exposed to air, it will go bad much sooner.
Peanuts vs. Almonds vs. Cashews vs. Walnuts vs. Hazelnuts vs. Pecans
How peanuts compare to other nuts is a common question we hear. Below is a table on the nutrition facts for 1 ounce (28 grams) of 6 popular nuts.
Can You Freeze Peanuts?
Freezing peanuts is the best way to store them for a long time, and it retains taste and texture. The extremely low temperature in the freezer creates an environment that prevents the growth of bacteria that can render the peanuts inedible. Besides bacterial growth, the cold could also slow rancidification.
However, you might want to opt for mason jars in this case. Although they’re bulky, they can protect the peanuts from being crushed by heavier items. Then when you’re defrosting them, let the peanuts thaw to room temperature before opening the container since cold nuts could absorb moisture from the air.
Figuring out how to store peanuts long-term isn’t all that challenging once you know what factors to keep in mind. You can either store them in airtight bags or jars. For best results, place your peanuts in the fridge or freezer away from heat, humidity, and oxygen. Once you are able to store nuts properly, shelled peanuts can be stored for up to 1 year or up to 2 years if they are unshelled.
Still, it’s always better to examine the bag for warning signs before you start eating!
Related Article: How to Store Hazelnuts Long-Term
Related Article: Shelf life of Pecans: How to Store for Long-Term Storage
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