Cashew is an evergreen tree that belongs to the sumac family of Anacardiaceae. This tree is known for its curved edible seeds, which is referred to as the cashew nuts. The cashew nut grows out of its kidney-shaped fleshy indehiscent real fruit called the “cashew apple.”
Cashew nuts are classified as nuts because they share similar culinary and nutritional attributes with other nuts. But technically, they are not real nuts like the chestnuts, hazelnuts, or walnuts. Though cashew nut is not considered a real nut, it is also famous for its oil that is culinarily referred to as a nut, which adds flavor in South and Southeast Asian chicken and vegetarian dishes. On the west side of the world, it is primarily eaten as a premium-quality healthy snack. Cashews also serve as an ingredient in certain salads (Also Read: Vegan Caesar Salad), desserts, appetizers, stews, and other recipes.
Like other nuts, cashews contain high amounts of good fats called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Although these are healthy kinds of fat, the downside of them is that they have a tendency to get rancid or spoiled at some point in time under the worst storage conditions.
Cashews are delicious and healthy, but it can make your pocket go nuts! It would be such a waste for your expensive pack of cashews to reach the garbage bin, right? So to avoid cashews from spoiling, how would you store it? Can you tell if a bag of cashews has gone bad? How long can you keep your cashews in the storage? There are more things for you to find out in this post. Let’s go and read on!
How To Store Cashews
First, you have to bear in mind that exposing any kinds of nuts to heat, sunlight, and air are factors that generally accelerated rancidity.
Here are ways on how to properly store your packed shelled cashews:
- Ensure that the container or package is tightly sealed. Putting the cashews in an airtight container or a freezer bag will do. If you are using a freezer bag, you have to squeeze out the air before sealing it.
- Keep the cashews in the dark and cool place (pantry or kitchen cabinet, refrigerator, or freezer).
- Make sure that your cashews are kept away from any heat sources.
To lengthen the shelf life of your cashews, the cold storage is the best place for it. If you live in a tropical area where the climate is hot and humid, that will shorten your cashews’ shelf life. So, it would be reasonable enough to keep it in the cold storage.
If you have cashews that come with its shell, just keep it in the pantry. Have it shelled and roasted if you have decided to use it and the store shelled ones in the refrigerator or freezer.
Here is a necessary precaution when shelling cashews. The cashew seed has a double shell that contains potentially harmful chemicals like phenolic resin and anacardic acid, which can irritate your skin.
Can They Go Bad?
Cashews can surely go bad. Just like any nuts, eating cashew nuts that have gone rancid is not healthy for your body. A little effort on keeping it the best storage condition can extend its shelf life. Rancid cashews can cause food poisoning. So make sure that it is still fresh before you eat it.
Cashews are prone to molds in hot and humid locations, especially if you keep it at room temperature longer than necessary.
How Long Do They Last?
Cashews do spoil, but it can last for a fair amount of time when stored properly. You don’t want to have a taste of some rancid cashews, right? So check the “Best by” date before buying or opening the pack.
If you have a store-bought pack of roasted cashews, it can stay two to four weeks in the pantry, six to nine months in the fridge, and up to one year in the freezer,
As for raw cashew nuts, it can stay one month in the pantry, up to five months in the fridge, and one year in the freezer.
If you notice, cashews can’t stay too long in the pantry or at room temperature. Cold storage is the best place for them.
And, if you have the ones that are still unshelled, it can last in the pantry for 12 months.
Cashews sold at the supermarket are usually stored in the bins where they are uncovered and exposed under lights most of the time. The longer it sits there, the faster its shelf life shortens.
When you buy cashews in bulk at the supermarket, it would be better to know when it has arrived at the store. With that information, you can take that as your reference point on how long you can keep the cashews in your home storage before it reaches the end of its freshness.
How to Tell if They Have Gone Bad?
Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats. It gets spoiled when it oxidizes through heat, light, and air exposure. Oxidation of these fats alters its molecular structure to harmful compounds like short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids are the reason why nuts can get rancid.
Now, you just found some bag of cashews hidden in the pantry or cold storage longer than you realize. And it happens that it doesn’t have any information about its expiration on the label. How can you tell if it is still okay to eat it?
It is easy to tell if your cashews have gone bad. Here are signs of spoilage you should look for in your cashews:
- Emits an odorous smell like nail polish, paints, old plastic containers.
- Signs of insect or pest infestation.
- White molds growing on the kernels due to oxygen and moisture expos.
- Kernels turned dried and shriveled.
- The kernels are discolored, looking dark, yellow, or oily.
- The cashews taste nasty, unpleasant, sour, or bitter.
If any of these above mentioned signs are present, throw those cashews away. Otherwise, if the cashews are free from all of those signs, they will be more likely okay for consumption.
Okay. If the nuts look fine but strangely taste slightly spoiled, try roasting them to bring out its flavors.
But when you still have doubts, better throw them out.
Can I Still Eat Them After They Have Passed Their Expiration Date?
Yes, it can still be okay for consumption if you had them stored appropriately. The nuts do not spoil immediately after a day or week past the expiration date. Again, let us remind you to do a quality check for you to eat them. Even if it may not show any signs of spoilage yet, you can expect that it won’t be at its best quality. The longer you keep it, the worse it gets until it is not safe for consumption anymore.