Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
If you are like most people, almonds are one of your favorite nuts. Whether you eat them out of a bag, include them in a salad, or have them in your favorite dessert, almonds are some of the most delicious nuts you can put in your mouth. But like any type of food, the question of do almonds go bad runs through your mind occasionally, especially if you do lots of baking or cooking and have almonds setting around in bags or containers. To find out, here are some things to keep in mind.
Table of Contents
Do Almonds Expire?
Like most kinds of foods, almonds can at some point expire, at least in terms of how they taste. But to have this occur, you usually have to store your almonds at room temperature for an extended period of time, which often means months.
As to why almonds may expire, it has to do with their high oil content. When oil is stored in an area where it is exposed to warm temperatures, significant changes in temperature, or where high levels of moisture are present, it tends to go rancid. To avoid this with your almonds, you’ll need to store them in areas where none of these factors will come into play.
While you can store almonds at room temperature, this increases their chances of expiring. To keep this from happening or at least put it off as long as possible, you should store your almonds inside your refrigerator or a freezer, especially if you have a large quantity on hand and won’t be using them up immediately.
Also, keep in mind that almonds are like many other nuts in that they can pick up the smells of other foods or containers in which they are stored. However, if you store them at colder temperatures inside your freezer or refrigerator rather than at room temperature, this most likely won’t happen.
How Long Do Almonds Last?
While almonds can expire to some degree, the good news is that they can also last a very long time if properly stored.
If you have raw almonds, researchers say these nuts can remain fresh and tasting good for at least one year, with some studies indicating it may be as long as two years. Of course, this is all dependent upon you properly storing your nuts.
Should you have packaged almonds that you are eating as snacks, these typically don’t stay fresh as long as raw almonds, since they usually have seasoning and other ingredients added to them to enhance their flavor. Though these packages have a date indicating how long they will stay fresh, don’t assume that date means they will become spoiled the next day. However, the sooner you eat these almonds once the package has been opened, the better.
As a general rule, count on raw almonds lasting you at least 12 months if you store them in a refrigerator or freezer. Snack almonds that are opened can stay good for up to two weeks in your pantry, and perhaps as long as one month if kept in your fridge. Unopened snack almonds can be expected to last at least as long as the date on the package, and in most instances will still be fresh up to one month later whether stored in your pantry or refrigerator.
How Will I Know if Almonds Have Gone Bad?
Should you find a pack of almonds in your pantry or fridge and still find yourself questioning do almonds go bad, there are some signs you can look for that will give you a pretty clear answer.
First, like other foods that may have been abandoned far longer than you anticipated, look for signs spoilage has occurred, which usually means dark specks or mold growing on the almonds themselves.
If you don’t see any outward signs of spoilage, let your nose be your guide by opening up the package or container and taking a whiff of the almonds. If they give off a smell of rancid oil, they have spoiled and need to be tossed in the trash.
Finally, if your almonds have no mold or dark spots on them and don’t have a smell that knocks you off your feet, try tasting one or two. If they taste bitter, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are spoiled, but it does indicate they are losing their freshness. Therefore, you’ll have to make an executive decision as to whether the almonds meet your high standards and can stay, or instead have lost enough of their luster that it’s time to part ways.
Can I Get Sick Eating Spoiled Almonds?
If you are hesitant about eating almonds that may or may not be past their prime, you should remember that if you do eat almonds that have become rancid and have a very bitter or sour taste, they can make you sick. In fact, if you consume as few as six almonds that taste very bitter, you can suffer from mild levels of cyanide poisoning. Should you eat about 50 bitter almonds, it could actually lead to death.
Yet before you start to panic and toss out any almonds that may taste bitter, be aware that when bitter almonds are microwaved, baked, roasted, or boiled, the cyanide levels in the almonds are reduced by as much as 98%, making them safe to eat.
Do Some Almonds Last Longer Than Others?
As you read earlier, some almonds do tend to last longer than others for a variety of reasons. Since almonds have high levels of auto-oxidants that oxidize the unsaturated fats found in almonds, this is what produces rancidity when the nuts are exposed to light, moisture, heat, or oxygen.
If you have roasted almonds, they will typically last longer than raw almonds because the roasting lowers the oxidant levels of the almonds. Also, when almonds are covered in chocolate, this also increases their shelf life, since the chocolate acts as an anti-oxidant.
How Do You Know You’re Buying Good Almonds?
Whether you are buying in-shell almonds or one that are already shelled, there are some tricks you can use to make sure the almonds you purchase have not already spoiled.
When buying in-shell almonds, shake them. If you do and hear the nut rattling around inside the shell, this is not good, since it indicates the nut is old and has started to shrink.
If buying shelled almonds, you’ll need to look for ones that are a solid white or creamy color all over. When a shelled almond displays a yellowish color after it has been sliced or has a honeycomb pattern, rancidity has already set in and it is thus spoiled.
Freezer Bags Work Wonders
If you want to store your almonds inside a fridge or freezer, it’s a good idea to do so using freezer bags. As to why, it’s because they are thick enough to keep out moisture. Even in a freezer, there may still be enough humidity to spoil almonds. If possible, keep the almonds in their original packaging and then put that package inside a freezer bag for best results.
Now that you know the facts regarding why do almonds go bad and other related aspects of the topic, it will be much easier for you to tell a good almond from a bad one. Whether it’s your taste buds, nose, or shaking them a bit, you’ll know immediately what you’ve got.