Pine nuts are edible seeds from pine trees and are used in everything from baked goods to a topping on salads to an ingredient for delectable dinners. Ground up into a finer consistency, pine nuts are commonly used in pesto.
Pine nuts are a lesser source of protein and are not as common in kitchens. If you purchased a container of them for a batch of pesto a few months or years ago, you may find yourself wondering if they are still good to use or if they have gone bad.
Now this is the bottom line: Pine nuts have a higher oil content and thinner skin than other tree nuts, which causes them to go bad far quicker than other nuts.
Read ahead to know how long you can expect your pine nuts to last and how to check for any signs of spoilage.
Nutritional Value Of Pine Nuts
Though not as common of a staple to healthy diets as almonds or pecans, pine nuts are packed full of nutrients and health benefits.
Pine nuts are rich in vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, and minerals such as iron and copper. These components help sustain glycemic control, support heart health, and can aid in weight management.
To ensure you are getting all the valuable nutrients found within pine nuts, you will want to ensure they have not passed their prime.
Shelf Life Of Pine Nuts
When it comes to the shelf life of your pine nuts, temperature makes all the difference. Pine nuts typically are sold in stores without shells, so they will often have a shorter shelf life than many other tree nuts.
In addition, pine nuts are dense with oil and have a thin outer skin, causing them to go rancid far quicker than other nuts.
The packaging for pine nuts will often include a “best by” date. This is often more of a recommendation for freshness, rather than an indication that the food is expired at that date. Typically, the pine nuts will be fine to consume for several weeks past the labeled date, though they may begin to change in flavor.
You can expect shelled pine nuts to remain in good quality for around a month at room temperature. Pine nuts will be good for up to 3 months when refrigerated.
If you do not think you can use up your pine nuts within a few weeks or months, you can extend the shelf life of pine nuts by freezing them. When frozen, pine nuts will last up to 9 months.
How To Store Pine Nuts
Ensuring a long life for your pine nuts is dependent on good storage techniques. When it comes to the long-term storage of nuts, the colder the better.
If you know you will use up the pine nuts within a few weeks or months, storing at room temperature is perfectly fine. To do so, keep them in a cool, dark location, such as a pantry.
Pine nuts should be kept in an airtight container away from any sources of moisture.
When refrigerating or freezing pine nuts, you will want to ensure they are in airtight packaging or a container. Exposure to air or moisture will cause the pine nuts to go rancid quicker.
The pine nuts should be placed in a location in your refrigerator or freezer that has a consistent temperature.
Are These Pine Nuts Bad?
Pine nuts 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 to bake or eat, 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 development of mold, you will want to throw them out.
Pine nuts contain fats and oils naturally. Like other oils, these components within pine nuts can begin to go rancid. Rancidity occurs when the fats and oils begin to oxidize, changing the chemical composition.
When foods begin to go rancid, they will put off an off odor. Smell the pine nuts 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 pine nuts smell and appear fine, you can taste 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.
In Summary On Pine Nuts
- Like other nuts, pine nuts will go bad. Given the dense amount of oil in pine nuts, they will go rancid rapidly.
- At room temperature, you can expect shelled pine nuts to last for a month.
- When refrigerated, pine nuts will last for up 3 months. When frozen, they can last for up to 9 months.
- Shelled pine nuts should be kept in an airtight container.
- Signs of spoilage in pine nuts can include bitter smell or flavor and appearances of mold.
Pine nuts are delicious, packed with nutrients, and great for pesto. But, their shelf life is limited, so enjoy those tasty pine nuts right away.