Raw and roasted cashews make a great snack, with a slightly crisp outer shell and a softer, creamier center. You can eat cashews in salads, make them into a sauce to go with rice or noodles, or enjoy them on their own.
Cashew nuts come from the cashew tree, a fruit-producing tree with large “false fruit” cashew apples, with the real fruit dangling below. This fruit contains a single seed, the cashew nut.
These nuts taste better the fresher they are, and it can be dangerous to each spoiled cashew – you could get pretty sick doing so. But how long do they last? And how do you know when they’ve gone bad?
What is the Shelf Life of Cashew Nuts?
The raw cashews we buy in the store aren’t fresh – they’re nothing like the cashew fruit that comes from the tree.
These are completely dried nuts that have been dried out during processing so they can last quite a while. In addition, the high-fat content of cashews (packed with healthy oils) means they’ll last much longer than other foods, like fruit and vegetables.
Stored properly, cashews tend to have a shelf life of up to four weeks when stored in the pantry at room temperature. However, informing them at a warm temperature can affect how long cashews last and may reduce their shelf life.
Of course, this depends on how long it’s taken the cashews to get to your pantry. If they’ve sat for a long time at the grocery store or in pre-transport storage, this will also affect how long they last in your pantry.
For pre-packaged cashews, check the expiration date on the package – this will be the best indication of how long they’ll last.
However, raw cashews bought at a reputable grocery store or health food shop should last at least four weeks if stored in a cool, dry pantry. It’s important to note that this time estimate refers to cashews in an unopened package – leaving the pack open can shorten their shelf life, as much air can get into the pack and cause the cashews to go bad quickly.
How to Store Cashews to Extend their Shelf Life
Storing cashew nuts correctly will help them to have the best flavor for longer. Air exposure can reduce the best by date of cashews, so store them in an airtight container in a cool and dark place, like a pantry that doesn’t get too warm. It’s also important to store your cashews in a dark cabinet, as direct sunlight can reduce their shelf life and make them rancid faster.
Make sure the container is sealed tightly to avoid air getting in – a good-quality Tupperware container is your best bet. You can also store them in a freezer bag at room temperature; ensure the bag is properly sealed and has no holes. The cashews’ shelf life will be reduced if you store them in a container and packaging that is not airtight, such as a brown bag or in a hot room.
Roasted cashews may last up to four weeks at room temperature storage in a resealable container, but they may have a shorter shelf life, so look for the signs that indicate they’ve gone bad (more on below). For store-bought roasted cashews, be sure to check the expiry date on the pack.
What can Happen if Cashews Go Bad?
It would help if you did not eat rotten cashews. When cashews go bad, they go stale and brittle, eventually turning rancid. You probably won’t see mold growth on your rancid cashews, so checking for any signs of mold growth isn’t enough to be sure they haven’t gone bad.
Stale nut seeds lose some of their nutritional value when they go bad, not to mention they don’t taste perfect. Rancid nuts may even contain toxic oil, which could cause food poisoning if you eat them.
How do you know if your Cashews go Bad?
When cashews go bad, they experience several changes to their appearance, taste, and smell. First, you may notice a bad smell, which may be a paint-like odor.
Cashew nuts should be slightly sweet, so a bitter taste is a big red flag. On the other hand, you can be pretty comfortable your cashews are bad if they have a sour smell, sour taste, or a brittle consistency.
If you’re unsure if your cashews have gone bad, you can be pretty sure with a taste test.
What to do with Cashews
If you have a bunch of delicious cashews lying around that are about to go bad, there are plenty of things you can do with them to avoid having to throw them in the trash.
Homemade cashew butter has a fantastic creamy taste. To make cashew butter, you’ll need a food processor. Pop the cashews in and blend well until creamy.
You can make many other delicious recipes with cashews, such as cashew chicken, stir-fried cashew noodles, and crunchy cashew salads. Or, make your trail mix by adding other kinds of nuts and colorful dried fruit.
How Long do Cashews Last in an Airtight Container?
If you store your cashews in airtight containers, they should last around four weeks as long as you keep them in a cool, dark place. If your cashews come in a plastic package, ensure it’s airtight. Otherwise, transfer them into an airtight, resealable container.
How Long do Cashews Last in the Freezer?
Freezing cashews can be an excellent way to extend the shelf life of your cashews and stop them from going bad. Cashews are freezer friendly: pop them in a freezer bag, and they’ll stay good in the freezer for more than a year.
How does Cashew’s Shelf Life Compare to Other Nuts?
Cashews have a similar shelf life to other nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts. This means that if you have a trail mix of all of these nuts, you can store them for around the same amount of time, usually four weeks in the pantry, up to two months in the fridge, and up to 12 months in the freezer.
Can you Freeze Cashews?
Just put your cashews in freezer bags and make sure the bags are sealed properly. You can freeze them for up to a year, and they’ll be as fresh and delicious as they were before when you defrost them!
How Can you Tell if Cashews have Gone Off?
You can tell if your cashews have gone bad if they have a bad smell, are brittle, or have a bitter taste. If you notice any of these signs, don’t eat them! Eating a few rancid nuts is unlikely to make you sick, but in some cases, the oil may have turned toxic, and you could get food poisoning. Even if you don’t get sick immediately, regularly eating cashew nuts that have gone bad can upset your digestive system over the long term.
You should also avoid eating any cashews stored longer than the recommended time frames. Cashews last around four weeks in the pantry, up to two months in the fridge, and up to 12 months in the freezer. In the same way, don’t eat store-bought cashews past the expiration date printed on the package.