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My Experience with Almonds & Walnuts LTS

5275 Views 18 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  NY Min
Back in 2012 I scoured this forum and took some advice on long term storage of nuts. General advice was they don't last more than a year, however if you read through enough posts from MikeK and other find enough exceptions, there were some gold nuggets of "well, you COULD do this to maximize your storage" that were spread amongst the forum. As with most things, temperature, oxygen and light penetration make a huge difference on long term storage. So I compiled what advice I deemed best and took a chance. It's now five years later, I just popped one can today and am sharing my experience as a thank you to the community. Take it or leave it as you desire:

Which Nuts to Store
  • There were plenty that were no-go's, peanuts is a commonly rejected request so I didn't bother.
  • I Chose Walnuts, Almonds, and Sunflower Seeds (comments were these can last on longer end of scale and my family is amenable to these),
  • Kept all three in their original shells
Rest of comments below are about the walnuts and almonds.

Canning Method
  • Stored in the #10 cans self-canned,
  • Used the borrowed canner from LDS group and their food grade cans that were created just a few months earlier,
  • Used 2 each fresh 100cc (150?) oxygen absorbers.
Environmental Conditions
  • Kept in normal refrigerator settings for 2.5 years,
  • Can moved into interior home for last 2.5 years, which is air conditioned between 65 and 78 year round,
  • Can showed a little rust on outer edge, nothing penetrated interior.
  • Can opened with clear "seal break" when pierced with can opener,
  • Smell as they should and look normal, IMO.
    [*]They taste great!
  • My wife, who knows raw almonds very well and especially knows the scent of rancid nuts a mile away, says they are great. I've eaten a handful, but don't yet have a good hand cracker. Just using a hammer, lol.
  • I will certainly do plenty more cans this time and use the same method, and test a few under the house which stays cool 8 months of the year and gets to 80 the other months. I already know the moisture under the house ruins the outer can and any mice eat up the labels immediately, pest control is a must.
Flavor & Freshness vs Nutrition
I should note for a modicum of completeness that a simple test of flavor and lack of staleness only indicates the nuts have not gone rancid. When storing food for long term, your goals are obviously nutrition whether you realize it or not. Most people think "If I'm starving I want anything, it doesn't have to be perfect" but in reality in a long term SHTF situation you'll need a variety of nutrient sources and it's important to realize food does not have all its original nutrition after LTS. I have no way of measuring this loss, but will at least presume, in general, a food in its natural state without modification (other than storage conditions) will retain said nutrition longer than foods heavily processed for added flavor (not talking about just adding salt or sugar to certain edibles to increase longevity). Even so, I could be wrong as I'm certainly not a food scientist and common logic does not always hold for each circumstance.

The Sunflower Seeds
I also did store sunflower seeds in their original shells, using 7mm mylar and OA, and was successful at the 2 year mark when I removed them from the refrigerator. They tasted perfectly fine and I ate about half and tossed the rest. No pictures of sunflower seeds....

Happy survivalist sharing and let's try to keep some faith in humanity!


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It was posts like Zeke's I was trying to help others interpret (temper) with my experience. No doubt he is trying to be helpful and he is a key member around here. Yes many nuts generally don't last long and can go rancid, but his post mandates people fall victim to "letting the ideal be the enemy of good". Freezer a few years or an orchard, no middle ground. "It's just that simple." Yes, planting nut trees is the best way for nuts long term (which btw, I do have an almond on my property which is why I focus on it so much). But it's difficult for lay folks to sift through generalized "dont do it" advice when we're looking for specific best-fit alternatives.

(IAmZeke) They have unsaturated oils that go rancid within a year
(Blue Diamond Site) Almonds have natural antioxidants that promote a long shelf life. In fact, they can retain their goodness longer than many other nuts and can be carried over from one year to the next by maintaining certain safeguards and controlled conditions
(NYMin) Blue Diamond gives its raw almonds in the shell stored in ambient conditions in plastic bags a 36-month shelf life, so the OP may be quite right that those were fine after 5 years stored in cans in a zero-oxygen atmosphere. I would doubt his wife's nose if she thinks the walnuts are equally good, but she may be quite right about the almonds.
As NYMin quotes, Blue Diamond states 3 years shelf life and that's without 1) oxygen absorbers (nor nitro flush), nor 2) any refrig cooling beyond ambient, and 3) not in #10 cans that prevent passive gaseous transfer, all of which is how my test was conducted. I even question the 3 years, since we know what the expiration date on canned foods represents and why it's rarely more than 2 years ahead. Is this 3 years a guaraneed Fresh By date?

At this point, I realize I have made a major blunder in my post. Everywhere it said LTS or long term really should have been medium term. I never expected to get 20 years out of nut storage. I was hoping maybe 7 years for the almonds if kept mostly refigerated and indoors. Certainly longer than 1 year or frozen only a few years. With Blue Diamonds site stating 35-45F is "ideal storage" temp, 7 years is probably feasible if I don't screw it up (seal poorly, include too much moisture, etc). Also, my test of under the house could never compare to the length of refrigerated.

Also, Zeke mentions the killer word: toxins. There are toxins and there are toxins. We unknowingly eat lots of toxic things everyday. Heck everything is toxic, like water, the only meaningful difference is dosage and the consumer. We consume toxins intentionally for side effects. I just explained this to my daughter two days ago when she saw a wine barrell. "If we put grape juice in there for years, doesnt it go bad?" Um yeah, thats what alcohol is. The old bottle of cooking oil, the last of your wheat flour, etc. I am not condoning anyone eat moldy nuts that smell rancid, you can get very sick. I also throw away those last bits in the bag, jar. I fear botulism, too.

I understand it's probably easier for a website/individuals to avoid liability by scaring away anyone tackling a dangerous area, rather than hoping they'll rely on using common sense or self-educating before they go gung-ho into storage, then get so far in with time & money a cognitive dissonance develops disabling them from their requirement to toss their investment.

With so much negativity against storing nuts, most of which originates from a valid foundation, I honestly was surprised a blast of rancidity didnt explode from the can when I broke the seal. Thus my sharing with others. But one of Zekes point is valid, I do not claim our family collection of noses can detect small (or an arguable 'reasonable' amount of rancidity), but one of us should be able to detect high or poisonous levels. But I do trust my wife who says she absolutely has a nose for rancid nuts. We ate the nuts several days ago, before we took any pics and posted here. For arguments sake, let's assume there is 'some' level of rancidity in these nuts. It's my understanding they lose their vitamins first and only long term (there's that term) or excesive consumption would cause health issues for nuts like this without any signs of rancidity we can detect. Am I wrong?

Thanks again NYMin for the detailed reply. I am a little surprised they even posted the 3 years category. The pessimist in me ponders if they ever do testing whether they would release results that raw unshelled almonds canned with OA @ ambient temps might last medium term, such as 7 years.
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Rancidity toxins are like all other toxins. It totaly depends on how many other toxins you consume and your body's ability to process them.

We all know smoking kills. It just takes 20 to 50 years to do it. But I doubt there has been anyone to ever smoke a pack and quit right then to die from it ultimately.

So in an absence of other factors the occasional intake of toxins is fairly safe unless you get an acute dose at once.

But here is the kicker. All toxins essentially combine in their damage. Your occasional rancid almonds combine with your daily polluted commute into the city air, combine with those shots of whiskey the night before, combine with that Lysol spray you inhaled when the wind drifted in the bathroom, combine with that stainless cleaner you got on your hands when you cleaned the fridge, combine with the gas that dribbled on your jeans when you filled up the truck the day before....... all adds up as an assault on your metabolism. If the assault remains low enough your body will neutralize it with antioxidants and process it out. But if the assaults keeps rising the body goes into crisis mode and starts shunting the toxins into fat cells in a holding pattern until you get a lot of very low toxin time to begin processing them out. In the meantime they sit there stored but still causing damage to various cells that migrate around the bloodstream.

My advice to not store nuts longer than a year if not frozen is just like telling you not to smoke. Yes, it's an absolute level of advice even though we all know that smoking a couple packs when you were a teen or having a cigar a couple times a year isn't actually a threat. It's called not promoting generally bad behavior.

Eating older nuts with low grade rancidity likely won't kill you. But it still isn't healthy. I'm not going to equivocate on bad ideas you don't have to put yourself through. We all need jobs and so many are forced to drive into the smog every day. You have to use cleaning chemicals or your home becomes a filth infested biological hazard. But you don't need old nuts to survive. So there is no reason for me to offer up pandering and caveats to be more gentle in my advice.

My previous post was intended to convey the difficulty for us lay to get specific advice. I posted intricate details of nuts selected, my storage methods, etc including pictures. Youre reply was general: nuts don't last long, they age to toxic levels, grow a tree, it is that simple. While that may be true in its simplicity, its not about pandering, caveats, or being gentle. Its so generic it is one step away from making a strawman argument and not really helpful.

Your reply could be copied and pasted to anyone asking for help for storing nuts, when in reality huge differences exist between pine nuts, peanuts and almonds unshelled.

I hope others who may read this post in the future can learn from that. I did learn a lot from this forum, though it did take me quite a long time sifting here and other spots trying to find a best-case solution for storing nuts as long as they can, then knowing approximately what that duration is.
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