Proper Storage of Pecans and Other Nuts

.Refrigerated storage of pecans and any nut is critical to prevent the development of rancidity and/or infestation of insects. The ideal storage conditions are below 45 degrees at about 70% relative humidity. Long term storage should be about 0 degrees in order to maximize freshness and shelf life. Poor storage conditions often lead to darkening of the kernel and rancidity of the oils, thus destroying the natural flavor and aroma of the nuts. The average shelf life for pecans at several storage temperatures is shown below.

     Storage                                       Average Shelf Life
  (degrees F)                    Shelled             Unshelled

        70                         3-4 months             6 months
        45                            6 months             9 months
        32                           12 months           18 months
        20                           18 months           30 months
         0                             6-8 years             6-8 years


If pecans are refrigerated or frozen for a long period of time they should be placed in an air tight container. Pecan meats readily absorb odors from other foods resulting in off flavors.

Pecans may be re-frozen numerous times without any damage or quality deterioration.

Storage Insects - Insects are a major problem in nuts and nut products stored at temperatures above 45 degrees F. The most common insects that infest nuts are the Confused Flour Beetle, Indian Meal Moth and Saw Toothed Grain Beetle. These insects all eventually infest Nut meats that are off storage for more than a a couple weeks during the warm weather months unless they are sealed in airtight containers.