Walnuts are packed full of essential nutrients and vitamins, and it helps that they’re very tasty.
They’re also very versatile, and you can add them to savory and sweet dishes alike to add an extra dimension to your cooking.
While walnuts can be available year-round through your local green grocer or larger supermarket, they most likely need to be imported, so you’re likely to pay much more than you would if you were buying them while they are in season.
In order to know if we can freeze them, and if freezing makes sense, let’s take a look at the shelf life of walnuts.
The Shelf Life Of Walnuts
Walnuts contain a lot of oil, so they can go rancid quite quickly if they are not kept somewhere dry and cool, within an airtight container.
The best way of keeping them is to take them out of the original container and put them into a sterilized, airtight glass jar, somewhere cool. They can last anywhere from a couple of weeks up to a few months before they go rancid.
You can tell instantly if walnuts are past their best, as they will start to shrivel, and turn rubbery, or smell like paint thinner. Don’t attempt to use these, just throw them away.
But can you freeze them if you want to keep them for a much longer period? The good news is that you can, and they’ll keep in the freezer for up to a year.
How Do You Freeze Walnuts?
Both shelled walnuts and whole walnuts can be frozen with the same method. If you have a whole unopened packet that you want to keep for a much longer period, why not freeze them in the bag?
If you have leftover walnuts, or you’ve decanted them into an airtight jar, you’ll want to put them into a heavy-duty freezer bag or a suitable airtight container.
Make sure to seal the container tightly, label it, and freeze it.
If a recipe calls for ground or chopped walnuts, and you’ve got more walnuts than you need, the best thing to do is to leave them whole when you want to freeze them.
You can always prepare them once they have defrosted, and if it turns out you don’t need to chop or grind them, you still have plenty of ways in which to use them.
This also ensures that the walnuts will retain as much moisture and as much of their natural oils as possible, which helps to keep the flavor of the nuts at its best, as well as preserving that important crunch.
How Do You Thaw And Cook Walnuts?
The best way to thaw frozen walnuts is to put the whole container into the fridge. Depending on how many walnuts you have to defrost, this could take just a couple of hours, or it may take as long as overnight.
If you’re planning to use the walnuts in baking or cooking, you don’t need to reheat them. Simply add to the mixture or dish you’re cooking.
If you need to toast the walnuts, you can either use the hob or the oven.
Maybe you don’t have the time to babysit them, in which case, the oven is your best bet. Preheat it to 375°F, and cover a baking tray with parchment.
Put the walnuts onto the tray, and put the tray into the oven.
Toasting them will take no longer than 10 minutes, but it could take as little as 5 minutes.
If you’d prefer to heat them on the hob, grab a skillet, and put it on a medium heat. Put the walnuts in, careful not to put too many in, or you risk them heating unevenly.
Occasionally turn the walnuts, and let them heat up until they turn a lovely golden brown. This shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes.
Walnuts are perfect for adding a little crunch to pretty much any dish that you can think of.
While they are available year-round, they can be difficult to get hold of cheaply, so if you can buy them in season and store them for later, you’ll find that you’ll save quite a bit of money in the long run.