Hazelnuts come from hazel trees and are popularly used in baking and desserts. Ground up into a finer consistency, they can be made into delicious hazelnut cocoa spreads and used to flavor beverages and treats.
Hazelnuts make a great snack on their own or as an addition to baked goods. If you purchased a container of them for a baked dish a few months or years ago, you might wonder if they are still good to use or have gone bad.
Bottom Line: Hazelnuts are made of organic material, so they will eventually go bad, just like other nuts.
Read ahead to know how long you can expect your hazelnuts to last and how to check for any signs of spoilage.
Nutritional Value Of Hazelnuts
Though not as common of a staple to healthy diets as almonds or pecans, hazelnuts are packed full of nutrients and health benefits.
Hazelnuts are rich in unsaturated fat, provide fiber and protein, and are full of vitamins and minerals. These components help sustain good heart health, lower cholesterol, and contribute to weight loss.
To ensure you are getting all the valuable nutrients found within hazelnuts, you will want to ensure they have not passed their prime.
Purchasing Fresh Hazelnuts
A long shelf life for hazelnuts begins in the store. Hazelnuts come with natural packaging – their shells. However, once they have been shelled, the packaging they end up in makes all the difference in how long their shelf life will be.
If purchasing hazelnuts with the shells still on, look for ones that are fully intact, without cracks or holes in the shells.
Helpful Tip: Shake each of the hazelnuts. If you hear any rattling, it indicates that the nut has begun to dry out and will not be as fresh.
If purchasing shelled hazelnuts, look for ones packaged in a sealed container. This will maximize the freshness and long life of the hazelnuts.
Shelf Life Of Hazelnuts
When it comes to the shelf life of your hazelnuts, temperature makes all the difference.
You can expect unshelled hazelnuts to remain in good quality for at least six months at room temperature.
Shelled hazelnuts will be good for up to three months when stored properly at room temperature.
Refrigerating or freezing your hazelnuts can lead to far longer shelf life. You can expect both shelled and unshelled hazelnuts to last up to a year in the fridge. When frozen, hazelnuts will last up to two years.
Most packages of shelled hazelnuts have a “best by” date on the packaging. This is a good indication of when the hazelnuts will begin to lose quality, though they will be fine to eat for up to a month or two longer as long as there are no signs of spoilage.
How To Store Hazelnuts
Ensuring a long life for your hazelnuts is dependent on good storage techniques, and when it comes to long-term storage of nuts, the colder, the better.
If you know you will use up the hazelnuts within a few months, storing them at room temperature is perfectly fine. To do so, keep them in a cool, dark location, such as a pantry.
Shelled hazelnuts should be kept in an airtight container away from any sources of moisture. Unshelled hazelnuts already have sufficient, natural packaging and can be kept in any bag or container in your pantry.
When refrigerating or freezing hazelnuts, you will want to ensure they are in airtight packaging or a container. They should be placed in a location in your refrigerator or freezer that has a consistent temperature.
Are These Hazelnuts Bad?
Hazelnuts will go bad, and when they do, they will have an unpleasant flavor. You will want to check for any signs of spoilage before using them for baking or eating, even if they appear fine.
The first indication of spoilage you will want to look for is any change in appearance. If there is any mold, usually a white-ish growth, you will want to throw them out.
Another visible sign of a hazelnut going bad is if it has dried out or shriveled. While these hazelnuts will likely be fine to consume, they will not taste good and have likely begun going rancid.
Hazelnuts contain fats and oils naturally. Like other oils, these components within hazelnuts can begin to go rancid. Rancidity occurs when the fats and oils begin to oxidize, changing the chemical composition.
When foods become rancid, they will put off an off odor. Smell the hazelnuts to see if there are any rancid smells, which are often similar to soap, paint, or sour butter. If it smells odd at all, you will want to throw it out.
If the hazelnuts smell and appear fine, you can take a small bite of one. If it tastes off or bitter, you will want to dispose of them.
As with most foods, trust your gut when looking for signs of spoilage. If anything seems off, it will be best to throw them out.
- Like other nuts, hazelnuts will go bad.
- At room temperature, you can expect shelled hazelnuts to last for three months and unshelled nuts to last for six months.
- When refrigerated, hazelnuts will last for up to a year. When frozen, they can last for up to 2 years.
- Shelled hazelnuts should be kept in an airtight container.
- Signs of spoilage in hazelnuts can include a bitter smell or flavor and the appearance of mold or shriveling.
Hazelnuts are delicious and packed with nutrients. Ensure they have not gone bad to get all of the benefits these tasty hazelnuts provide.