How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (2024)

By Amy Knight

Pecans are a yummy treat with their rich, buttery flavor and health benefits. But did you know that pecans go bad?

Whether you've just harvested pecans from your own backyard, purchased fresh nuts from a local pecan farm, or even picked a bag up at the grocery store, proper storage is essential to maintain their freshness and flavor over time.

Made up of ⅔ oil, the shelf life of pecans should be treated the same as you would dairy or meat to make sure the nuts stay fresh and delicious as long as possible. Here are some valuable tips on how to store pecans properly and guarantee the best flavors all year long.

How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (1)

Differentiating Between Good and Bad Pecans

How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (2)

Before we dive into proper pecan storage techniques, it's important to know how to tell the difference between good and bad pecans. Fresh pecans have a distinct aroma, characterized by their sweet, nutty scent. They should have a firm, almost crunchy texture and a rich golden or amber color. On the flip side, bad pecans may show signs of spoilage, such as a rancid smell, a shriveled appearance, or a soft and rubbery texture. And if you’re daring enough to taste some, it’s likely a bit bitter and honestly, gross. If you come across any pecans with these characteristics, it's best to throw them out.

Get Knight Pecans Delivered

Proper Pecan Storage Techniques

How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (3)

Store in a Cool Place: Pecans are sensitive to heat, so it's important to store them in a cool location. Ideally, choose a spot where the temperature stays between 32°F (0°C) and 50°F (10°C). Avoid exposing pecans to direct sunlight or placing them near sources of heat, such as stoves or radiators.

Optimal Humidity Levels: Pecans also require proper humidity levels to stay fresh. They prefer dry, cool spaces, so aim for a relative humidity of around 45% to 55% to prevent the nuts from drying out. To maintain consistent humidity, you should consider using airtight containers or resealable bags.

Use Airtight Containers: When storing pecans, use airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to minimize exposure to air. Because of their makeup, oxygen can cause the pecans to turn rancid more quickly. Make sure that your containers are clean, dry, and odor-free to avoid any transfer of unwanted flavors.

In-Shell Pecans: If you’ve purchased fresh pecans from the farm and are still fully enclosed in their shell, in-shell pecans can be stored for six months to a year as long as their kept in a dry, cool place.

Shelled Pecans:

  • Refrigeration: For short-term storage, pecans can be stored in the refrigerator. If kept cool enough and properly sealed, pecans can last up to nine months in the refrigerator. Place pecans in airtight containers or resealable bags before storing them in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: For longer-term storage, storing pecans in the freezer is an easy way to ensure fresh pecans all year long. Pecans can be thawed and refrozen repeatedly without losing flavor or texture. Pecans can last in the freezer for up to two years when sealed properly. Place pecans in freezer-safe bags or airtight containers, ensuring that all air is removed to prevent freezer burn.

Label and Date: To keep track of the pecans' storage time, label the containers or bags with the date of storage. This helps ensure that you use the oldest pecans first and maintain a rotation system to enjoy the freshest nuts.

Year-Round Availability

Fresh pecans are one of nature’s best treats, and with proper storage, you can enjoy them year-round. When you buy fresh pecans straight from the farm and follow these recommended storage techniques, you can savor the flavor and texture of fresh pecans even outside the fall harvest season. Remember to periodically check in on your stored pecans and throw away any that show signs of spoilage to avoid accidentally snacking on rancid pecans.

How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (4)

How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu (2024)


How to Store Pecans Properly: Tips for Keeping Them Fresh and Flavorfu? ›

Question: How do you keep pecans fresh longer? Answer: Keeping your pecans in a tightly sealed bag in a freezer is the optimal way to store pecans. However, refrigerating your pecans will also extend their shelf life. Shelled pecans can be thawed and refrozen repeatedly without any significant loss or damage.

What is the best way to store fresh pecans? ›

Want to know the secret to keeping your pecans fresh? It's simple. Just keep your pecans in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. When you are ready to serve, you can bring them up to room temperature or cook with them right away, no thawing necessary.

How long do pecans last in a ziplock bag? ›

Sealed plastic bags are best for storing pecans in the freezer. In-shell pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place for 6 to 12 months. They can be refrigerated up to 18 months and frozen for about three years.

How do you treat fresh pecans? ›

Store pecans under refrigeration. Lowering the temperature extends storage life, ranging from three months at 70 degrees to eight years at zero degrees. Nuts can be thawed and refrozen without loss of quality. Refrigerated or frozen pecans should be placed in airtight containers.

Should you vacuum seal pecans? ›

Use Airtight Containers: When storing pecans, use airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags to minimize exposure to air. Because of their makeup, oxygen can cause the pecans to turn rancid more quickly.

Do pecans go bad if not refrigerated? ›

In-shell pecans can be stored at room temperature for a short period of time. Keep in a refrigerator, if so desired, to keep for longer than 4 months. If pecans need to be stored for more than a year, either in the shell, cracked, or shelled, they have to be placed in the freezer.

How long do pecans stay good in the shell? ›

Properly stored, shelled pecans can last for up to six months, while unshelled — or in-shell — pecans can last for up to nine to 12 months. Try saving some refrigerator space for your pecans, as both shelled and unshelled varieties last longer and retain more of their flavor when stored in a chilled environment.

What causes pecans to go bad? ›

Nuts with higher fat content, like walnuts and pecans can also go rancid after a few months if stored at too warm a temperature. If you notice that your nuts have taken on a noticeably bitter, sour flavor, they may have entered this unfortunate phase.

How to tell if pecans are good or bad? ›

The best way to figure out if the nuts have gone bad is to smell them, then taste one. They should still smell fresh and nutty. If they smell like old oil, or mold or musty don't eat them.

Can you store pecans in mason jars? ›

Pecans (and almost any food) can be preserved in Mason jars. This method frees up your freezer space, and there is no freezer burn.

Should pecans be washed before cracking? ›

Prior to shelling, pecans are moistened with water or steam, which increases the kernel moisture content and reduces kernel breakage during cracking. This process increases the shelling efficiency. Additionally, this step can also make the nut free of health hazardous bacteria.

How to remove bitterness from pecans? ›

Some of the tannin and all of the corky material can be removed by washing the kernels before cooking. To "sweeten" the pecan meats (kernels), simply put the pecan kernels in a bowl and fill with lukewarm water. Stir and tumble the meats in the water for several minutes and you will see the discoloration in the water.

Can you eat pecans right off the tree? ›

No, you cannot eat the green nuts that fall off prematurely from the trees as they've still not ripened. Only those nuts that ripen fully by Fall (and hence ready to harvest) are worth eating as they have the rich invigorating flavor you normally associate with nuts.

Why do you soak pecans in water? ›

Soaked nuts and seeds are hydrated, so their flavor is a bit more buttery and creamy. As the nut absorbs more and more water, it becomes plumper and the texture softens (hint: it is always a good idea to soak your nuts and seeds in a larger container to give them plenty of space for expansion).

How long will pecans last in a vacuum-sealed bag? ›

Keep the bag sealed tightly so no moisture can get in. This method will allow you to extend the shelf life of in-shell pecans to about 24 months, shelled pecans to 24 months and cracked pecans to 12 months.

What can pecan holes be used for? ›

Over time the shells will start to break down into mulch, which means they aren't good for providing plant nutrients but you can spread them through your garden to help the ground retain moisture and make it harder for weeds to spread.

What is the best way to store walnuts and pecans? ›

Light, oxygen, and heat are the enemies of nuts. Storing them in an airtight container in the freezer helps to limit their exposure to all three of these elements and slow the rate of spoilage.

How long do fresh pecans need to dry? ›

Dry the pecans by placing them in shallow layers in a warm dry area for two weeks, or they can be dried in a mesh bag. Adding fans and heat can speed the drying process.

Do you wash pecans before freezing? ›

When stored in a freezer, keep them no longer than two years. Don't wash pecans. Don't run water over them or even use a damp towel to clean them. Especially in-shell pecans.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Carey Rath

Last Updated:

Views: 6115

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Carey Rath

Birthday: 1997-03-06

Address: 14955 Ledner Trail, East Rodrickfort, NE 85127-8369

Phone: +18682428114917

Job: National Technology Representative

Hobby: Sand art, Drama, Web surfing, Cycling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Leather crafting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.