Or perhaps there’s a package with a date written on it. And it’s already 3 to 7 weeks past that deadline. The problem is that the nuts appear to be brand new. Should you throw out “expired” cashews for safety reasons, or can you eat them?
Continue reading to learn how to recognize bad cashew and how to preserve good cashew.
What’s the distinction between an expiry date and a best before date?
Both dates apply to food that has remained unopened and in its original packaging. The nutritional content of food after a certain date is referred to as its expiry date. The best before date is essentially the shelf life of the food in its unopened packaging.
“Best before” dates refer to food quality, whereas “use by” dates refer to food safety. This is because “use by” dates are typically found on perishable foods. This should be strictly enforced because food that has passed its “use by” date may be unsafe to consume even if it still looks and smells fine.
An expiry date is not the same as a best before date. These dates are required on certain foods that have specific nutritional compositions that may deteriorate after the expiration date has passed. In other words, after the expiration date, the food may no longer have the nutrient content specified on the label.
For formulated liquid diets, foods sold by a pharmacist, meal replacements, nutritional supplements, and infant formula, expiry dates are required.
If a food item has passed its expiration date, it should be discarded rather than consumed.
A best before date on a food package indicates when the food’s shelf life expires. Durable life is defined as “the anticipated amount of time that an unopened food product will retain its freshness, taste, nutritional value, when stored under appropriate conditions, or any other qualities claimed by the manufacturer.” This date is printed on a package beneath the words “best before” or “meilleur avant.”
This date informs customers that the unopened product will be of high quality until that date. The key point with this date is that it is contingent on the product being handled and stored correctly in accordance with the requirements of that specific food product. This means that failing to follow the handling and storage instructions for a specific product will reduce its quality by the best before date. This also means that once a package has been opened, the best before date is no longer valid.
Best before dates do not guarantee that a food product is safe for customers to prepare and serve. To ensure that a food product is safe for consumption, food businesses must ensure that Food Handler protocols and food safety rules are followed.
If your cashews are free of all of the above, they are probably safe to eat. That is also true if they are a few weeks or even months past their due date.
Of course, if you’ve stored the nuts in questionable conditions (warm temperature, direct sunlight), and you’re not sure they’re safe to eat, throw them out.
If in doubt, toss them out.
What is the shelf life of cashews?
The following cashew information gives us an idea of how long cashews last.
1–3 weeks if stored in the pantry; 5 months if stored in the refrigerator; 10 months if frozen
Food apps provide a very short shelf life for room temperature storage. This is incongruous given that cashews are frequently sold in bulk bins in supermarkets.
If the estimate is correct, the cashews will be spoiled in many supermarkets. That, as you and I both know, is not the case.
According to additional research, the following storage plans are recommended:
6 months at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius)
12 months in the refrigerator
That appears to be more accurate. Bagged cashews typically have use-by dates ranging from 6 months to a year, and there is no need to keep them stored in cold.
To cut a long story short, if you keep cashews at room temperature, they should keep their quality for about a half-year, maybe a little longer. They should last at least a year if you go with the fridge. If that isn’t enough, freezing them is an option.
If the label includes a date, use it as a guideline. As previously stated, the nuts will not go bad after that date, but you should expect a loss of quality and possibly so-so tasting cashews.
How to Keep Cashews
When it comes to storage, the standard options are: pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Because cashews are always shelled, the storage practices are the same no matter where you keep them. They are as follows:
Keep cashews tightly sealed. An airtight container or a freezer bag are both excellent options. If you choose the latter option, squeeze out the air before sealing.
Keep them in a cool and dark place. That is already taken care of by the refrigerator and freezer. For room temperature storage, select a dry cabinet away from heat sources.
If your plan is to snack on cashews throughout the day, keep a week’s worth in a bowl on the counter and the rest in storage.
Based on the shelf life discussed earlier, cold storage makes sense only if you need to keep cashews for an extended period of time. That, however, is not the case for the vast majority of cashew eaters.
Last but not least, if you live in a hot climate and your cashews go stale quickly at room temperature, put them in the fridge.
Cashews keep for a long time at room temperature. Cold storage isn’t strictly necessary.
Store the nuts tightly sealed in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.