Walnuts are nutritious, delicious, and extremely healthy nuts. They can be consumed alone or added to dishes and desserts to give the recipe or meal a crunch taste. But since they are not easy to find throughout the year – normally they are harvested from August to November – a quite common asked question is: can you freeze walnuts?
The answer to this question is yes and in this article you will find how.
The most available walnuts are the ones in their shells or shelled. They can be toasted, raw or pickled to be consumed alone or they can be mixed in other ingredients or recipes, sweet or savory, like soups, pies, brownies, cakes, and ice cream.
Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, a high concentration of omega 3, which help to decrease chances of heart problems, and helps to reduce inflammations.
Here is why should you freeze walnuts
Due to the oil present on the walnuts they can ger rancid, with an unpleasing smell and taste, after staying in room temperature for a while, making them old, stale and not good to use. They get rancid because of the long exposure to warmer temperatures mixed with oxygen.
And since they are not harvested during the whole year, if you do not store them in an adequate way, your walnuts will not last for a long time and will not be available to be bought again.
So, that is why you should freeze your walnuts, to guarantee that during the whole year you will have them fresh and ready to eat or add to your recipes.
An unopen pack of walnuts will last for around a month, being exposed to the temperature and conditions mentioned above. By putting them on the fridge, their shelf life increases by a fair amount, and can last for around 6 months. But, by freezing them, the walnuts will last for around a year or year and a half. After the 12 or 18 months in the freezer the walnuts will probably still be good to be consumed, but they will lose some of the flavor, nutrients, and vitamins.
So, only open the bags or packs of walnuts you will use right away. The ones you will need to use later should be left unopen and stored away from the warm temperatures.
How to freeze walnuts
It is easy and simples to freeze walnuts to avoid them to go rancid after only a few weeks.
If you already opened the pack of walnuts and have some leftover that will not be used right now, but will be needed later, the first step is to store them in a freezable container, preferably in an airtight compartment – it can be a plastic one – but you need to make sure that no air or moisture will get inside.
Remember to add the date, so you can have a reference of how long the walnuts have been stored in your freezer or fridge.
Also, before freezing the walnuts, always consider for what you will use them later. If you will need the walnuts whole, freeze them spread and apart, because they will most likely get frozen together and will be hard for you to separate them from each other later. But if you will use the walnuts crushed or mixed in a recipe they can be frozen together in a bag.
Another thing you should be caution is where to place them in fridge so they will not get the taste and smell from other ingredients you have also stored in there. The airtight container should prevent this, but it is recommended to take extra precaution. Another way to avoid this is not to chop or ground the walnuts before freezing them, only do it after defrosting them. This way your walnuts will not add other flavors and taste to your recipes.
How to defrost the walnuts
The steps to defrost the walnuts are as easy as to freeze them.
If the walnuts were frozen, the first step is to put them in the fridge for a day, so they can defrost, but still be protected from the warm temperatures and not loose any flavor.
If you will need the walnuts in cooking, you can take them straight from the freezer and add them in the recipe. The cooking will defrost them.
Another way to defrost them is to leave them in room temperature, this process will be quicker than leaving them in the fridge, but remember not to leave them exposed for too long or the oil content from the walnut will make them spoil very quickly.
And, for last, if the walnut will be toasted – in the oven or stove – you can reheat them straight away. The toasting process will only take around 5 minutes to be done and the walnuts will have a delicious toasted smell and flavor.
Unshelled or shelled walnuts
If you are in doubt about unshelled or shelled walnuts: the unshelled walnuts will last longer since it has the shell covering it. So, always prefer to purchase them.
The shelled walnuts will spoil sooner and go rancid much quicker.
Walnuts can be used in a large variety of recipes or consumed by themselves. Either way, they are a delicious ingredient with a unique and crunch taste.
This ingredient if filled with vitamins and nutrients and should be part of your diet if you are trying to have healthier eating habits.
But, since they are not available all year long, you should know how to store them appropriately not to run out of it, and due to its oily composition, the walnuts can get rancid and spoil very quickly, so that is why freezing them can guarantee you will not run out of it for the next months.
In this article you learned that you can freeze walnuts and why you should do it. And even got the best tips on how to freeze and defrost them in the right way.