Do Pecans Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 30th, 2022

Pecans are an excellent source of fat. It is worthwhile to keep them on hand and consume a couple of them as a nutritious snack. They also perform well as a salad topper or as a substitute for other types of nuts.

However, how long do pecans last? The shelf life of pecans varies depending on whether nuts are shelled or not, as well as where and how they are stored. Pecans, whether shelled or in-shell, should be stored in the freezer if you want them to last a long time. Only keep pecans at room temperature if you know you’ll eat them within a few weeks. Otherwise, you risk causing the pecans to get rancid.

brown peanuts on clear plastic container

In this post, you can find answers to your queries about pecan storage and shelf life.

Do Pecans go bad?

Pecans, like all other nuts, contain a lot of fat. Pecans contain a lot of oil, which makes them prone to getting rancid if not stored correctly.

If you don’t eat pecans very often, we recommend getting a smaller bag so you can finish it before the nuts go bad. If you use pecans frequently, whether in a breakfast bowl, smoothie, baking, or simply as a snack, you may buy a larger quantity if you discover a good offer.

In such instances, it is important to store pecans properly to extend their shelf life and keep their highest quality.

Unshelled pecans6 months12 months
Shelled pecans 9 months

How Long Will Pecans Keep Outside?

Pecans deteriorate fast when exposed to heat, moisture, or open air, so keep them in a tightly sealed container or bag when not in use.

Pecans in their shells can stay up to a year in this state if stored somewhere cold and dry, but unshelled pecans will normally only last six months at best, so keep an eye on them.

Given how long they can keep in good condition, you should identify containers containing pecans to know how long you’ve had them and when they could go bad.

How Long Will Pecans Last in the Fridge?

While shelled pecans have a longer shelf life in the pantry or freezer than unshelled pecans, they paradoxically last substantially less time in the refrigerator.

Unshelled pecans will survive up to a year in the refrigerator. However, shelled pecans would only last around 9 months under the same conditions, so keep this in mind when purchasing pecans.

It is unknown why this occurs, but if you want to keep nuts for a long time and buy shelled pecans, you should freeze them rather than refrigerate them since they survive considerably longer that way.

Is it possible to freeze pecans?

In many circumstances, freezing is a simple way to increase the shelf life of items with a texture or flavor. However, freezing is thought to be the best technique for storing pecans.

It is quite simple to freeze pecans. Place them in a plastic bag or container in the freezer as it should be mentioned that plastic bags are handier and space-saving because you can press out the extra air and store it however you wish.

When it comes to utilizing frozen pecans, you don’t have to do anything, either. Pecans do not need to be defrosted. Take them out of the freezer, allow them to thaw, and use them.

Pecans, unlike many other goods, may be frozen. They will not lose quality as a result of this.

How Long Will Pecans Keep in the Freezer?

Pecans may be kept in a freezer for up to two years, with in-shell pecans lasting up to five years if handled correctly.

Pecans can be harmed if they are not properly frozen, thawed, and refrozen, so use caution while freezing pecans to avoid accidentally ruining your cuisine.

To extend the life of frozen pecans and make them last longer as a whole, keep them in small, separate containers so you may defrost them in little groups rather than all at once.

How to Properly Freeze Pecans

Place your pecans in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing. Don’t just take my word for it — the US Pecan Growers Council recommends it!

Sealing your pecans preserves their taste and texture. It also keeps other items in the freezer from absorbing tastes or aromas. It also aids in the prevention of freezer burn.

If you want to make sure your pecans stay in good form, place them in sealed plastic bags and place those bags into an airtight container before freezing. As an added benefit, this is a fantastic way to preserve freezer space.

dividing into portions

It’s a good idea to separate your pecans before storing them in the freezer. That way, you’ll only have to take out and thaw what you need each time.

What size should a serving be? That is all up to you. However, I would recommend adopting a portion size that can be consumed in a single sitting.

Before putting the frozen bags in the freezer, label them with the date. This will assist in eliminating any doubt about when they were frozen. You’ll be able to tell how long they’ve been there without having to open them!

After you’ve wrapped your pecans, place them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

How Do You Thaw Pecans?

Tempering pecans by keeping them at 36 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit before attempting to bring them down to room temperature is the best way to thaw them.

Sudden temperature changes can harm pecans and prevent them from entirely thawing or thawing effectively; thus, defrosting pecans should be done slowly.

What is the shelf life of pecans?

Pecans in the shell have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months when kept at room temperature. Refrigerated in-shell pecans can be stored for up to 18 months. In-shell pecans, on the other hand, may be stored in the freezer for up to 24 months.

Shelled pecans can be kept in an airtight container in a cold, dry area for up to 8 weeks. Refrigerated shelled pecans have a 9-month shelf life.

Pecans have the greatest shelf life when stored in the freezer because the low temperature prevents the nuts from becoming rancid. Shelled pecans kept in the freezer have a minimum shelf life of 24 months.

Prepackaged shelled nuts include a date. While the date written on the container is only the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the nuts would survive, it is a handy reference for individuals who have difficulty spotting faulty pecans or are unsure how long they should be stored.

What is the shelf life of candied pecans?

Candied pecans have a 14 to 21-day shelf life if stored in an airtight container in a cold, dry, and dark location.

If you know you will be eating candied pecans within this time frame; there is no need to refrigerate them.

If you want the candied pecans to last longer, put them in the refrigerator or freezer. Candied pecans can be preserved in the refrigerator for up to a month. On the other hand, the freezer will add at least two months to the shelf life.

Refrigerate candied pecans in a glass jar or a plastic container with a tight-fitting cover. In the freezer, zip-top bags are the ideal alternative since they allow you to press out extra air and reduce the interaction of candied pecans with oxygen.

How Can You Tell If Pecans Are Bad

There are a few things to look out for when purchasing shelled pecans.

  • Weevils, as well as other pests. If any went inside the shell, it goes without saying that you should throw them out immediately after breaking.
  • Mold, fuzz, or any other indications that the nut is bad.
  • Nutmeat dried. The nutmeat may dry out if you keep pecans for an extended period. If it’s faded, it’s not necessarily harmful to consume, but I’d still throw it out.
  • The onset of rancidity. If your nuts taste bitter rather than sweet and buttery, they’re rotten. The same holds if they smell bitter or like old paint. Unfortunately, rotten nuts are unsalvageable.

When it comes to unshelled pecans, things are a little different. You never know if they’re nice or bad until you open them. All you can do is shake them to check if they rattle or not. The pecans are most likely dried out or spoiled if they feel light and hollow.

Is it OK to eat stale pecans?

Even if your pecans have gone rancid, you can still consume them. However, they may not taste particularly well. They’ll have also lost some of their nutritious value.

Is it possible to get sick from expired pecans?

In tiny amounts, consuming rancid or stale nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews may not make you ill immediately. Still, it is typically not recommended since it may impair digestion or negatively affect your health in the long run.

How should whole-in-shell pecans be stored?

The amount of time you can preserve pecans in their shell depends on how they are stored. Store whole-in-store pecans in an airtight container or zip lock bag before placing them in a paper bag. Keep it in a cold, dry location until you need it.

If you’re wondering how long you can store pecans in the fridge, the answer is up to 6 months. If you need to keep anything for an extended period, freezing is possible. Fresh pecans can be frozen for up to 2 years using the same storage methods as described above.

To avoid taking the frozen batch out of the freezer every time you need pecans, keep them in smaller useable portions to avoid refreezing. While the shell delays eating and recipe preparation, whole-in-shell pecans may be kept for a longer amount of time than shelled nuts.

How should cracked pecans be stored?

Essentially, you follow the same storage guidelines described above, but keep in mind that a cracked nut is exposed and susceptible to absorbing aromas, including shelf, refrigerator, and freezer scents. You don’t want to place your bag of cracked pecans near a bunch of bananas or any other fruit or food item with strong, natural scents.

Because of the absorbed scents, your exquisite nuts will pick up those nearby aromas, and you will lose the sweet, nutty richness of the pecan. One client, for example, placed her bag of pecans next to some breath mints, and her nuts tasted terrible and minty.

Even though the mint bag was sealed, the odor was absorbed because it was near the nuts in a confined cupboard. The most important thing to remember about any nut is that an unbroken shell protects the nut’s flesh from bruising and the kernels from oxidation and rancidity.

How should shelled pecans be stored?

Shelled pecans demand more storage space, regardless of whether they are pecan halves or shattered pecan bits. Color and taste must be preserved. You’re fighting the scents and fragrances of your pantry/storage choice once more.

If you’re a nut obsessive (which is a good thing), keep an airtight jar beside your flour and sugar canisters. Keeping 2 cups of pecans on hand for snacking, cooking, or baking is always a good idea.

When freezing shelled pecans, always freeze smaller portions that may be used in recipes. Double bag them to keep them fresh, and once frozen, these sweet and addictive nuts will be tasty, plump, and light in color.

Last but not least, even though no defrosting is necessary because pecans are always recipe ready, remember to taste for freshness. Poor storage conditions cause the kernel/nut to discolor and the oils to become rancid, destroying the natural flavor and aroma of the pecan.


Editorial Staff

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