Pecans are delicious. They taste great on their own, or combined with other ingredients to make an amazing dessert.
Even if you’re not a dessert person, pecans still have a ton of uses! For example, they’re perfect for baking homemade granola bars and casseroles. And you can always use them as part of a yummy trail mix.
Besides being tasty, pecans are packed with health benefits. In fact, they’re high in protein and healthy fat – which is one of the reasons why they taste so good! They can also help to lower cholesterol as well as prevent some diseases.
Given all these great qualities, it makes sense to stock up on pecans whenever you can! But what should you do if you’ve really stocked up and have more pecans than you can use right now? Can you freeze pecans?
Great news, by freezing them you can extend their shelf life!
Today, I’ll explain how long pecans last in the freezer. I’ll also explain how you should freeze them for the best results.
Can You Freeze Pecans?
As I mentioned, yes you can freeze pecans to extend their shelf life. Not only is freezing something you can do, but it’s actually the best way to store pecans for the long term.
Freezing pecans is an excellent option if you bought or harvested more than you can handle right now. It’s always good to have some on hand in case friends or family drop by for a visit!
In addition, freezing pecans will prevent them from becoming rancid. This means that they won’t lose their great flavor and healthy nutrients.
How Long Do Pecans Last in the Freezer?
Pecans can be frozen either still in the shell or with the shell removed.
Shelled pecans can last for up to 2 years in the freezer. Unshelled pecans, on the other hand, last even longer. They can be stored for up to 4 years in the freezer.
How to Freeze Pecans Properly
Before freezing your pecans, you should place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Don’t just take my word for it – this is actually recommended by the US Pecan Growers Council!
Sealing your pecans helps to maintain their flavor and texture. It also prevents them from absorbing flavors or odors from other foods in the freezer. Also, it helps to prevent freezer burn.
If you want to really make sure they stay in great shape, I recommend popping your pecans into sealed plastic bags and putting those bags inside an airtight container before freezing. As a handy bonus, this is also a good way to save space in your freezer.
Separating Into Portions
It’s a good idea to divide your pecans into portions before sealing them away in the freezer. That way you’ll only need to take out and defrost as much as you need each time.
How big should a portion be? Well, that’s up to you. However, I’d recommend using a portion size that can be easily used in one sitting.
Make sure you label the freezer bags with the date before placing them in the freezer. This will help prevent confusion about when they were frozen. You’ll know at a glance how long they’ve been there without having to open them up!
Once your pecans are sealed away, you can store them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
How to Thaw Frozen Pecans
You can thaw frozen pecans by leaving them in the refrigerator overnight. This is a great option if you know that you’re going to be using pecans tomorrow and have time to defrost them ahead of time.
But what do you do if you have a craving for some pecans now? The good news is that they can be defrosted quickly by popping them on the counter.
Pecans can defrost in as little as 30 minutes if you simply place them on the counter (still in the airtight container or bag).
You should avoid microwaving frozen pecans. Microwaving can actually lead to them becoming soggy instead of nice and crisp. Not what you want!
How Long Do Thawed Pecans Last?
Once you’ve defrosted them, pecans can last for up to two more months.
Be sure to store them in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, or a sealed plastic bag. This will help to prevent any moisture or unwanted odors/flavors from coming into contact with them.
Can You Refreeze Pecans?
Even if you took care to separate your pecans into portions before freezing, you may find that you’ve thawed too much to use right now.
The good news is that you can refreeze pecans without ruining the taste or affecting their texture.
Uses for Thawed Pecans
Once you’ve successfully defrosted your pecans, the possibilities are (almost) endless.
Because pecans are high in protein and fat, they make a great alternative to candy if you’re after a healthier snack.
Of course, their most well-known use is of course in pecan pies. They also work really well in a whole host of other sweet desserts. You can use your thawed pecans in any recipe that calls for nuts because of their similar taste.
Get creative and try out some new recipes!
Other Ways to Store Pecans
Although freezing them delivers the longest shelf-life, there are other methods of storing pecans that you can use.
Just as when you keep them in the freezer, your pecans should be stored in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. This is because pecans will readily absorb moisture as well as odors and flavors from other foods. All of these can ruin the taste of your pecans.
How long your pecans last depends on how you store them, and whether they’re shelled or unshelled nuts.
How Long Do Unshelled Pecans Last?
If kept in a cool, dry place like the pantry or kitchen cupboards, unshelled pecans can last for up to 12 months.
In the fridge, they can keep for over a year.
How Long Do Shelled Pecans Last?
You should store shelled pecans in a cool, dry place. If exposed to direct light or heat, the oils inside will start to break down and they’ll go bad faster. It’s also a good idea to keep them away from moisture as this can cause them to go moldy. Stored this way, shelled pecans can last for around 3-6 months.
Kept in the refrigerator, shelled pecans can last for up to 9 months.
How Can You Tell if Pecans are Bad?
To tell if pecans have gone bad, you’ll need to keep an eye out for two key signs – smell and taste.
If your pecans are past their prime, they’ll have a rancid smell about them.
When pecans turn bad, they develop a bitter taste. They won’t necessarily taste rancid, but you can certainly tell the difference between fresh and rancid pecans.
If you notice either of these two signs, it’s time to throw the pecans out and no longer use them in your cooking or baking.