macadamia nuts safety feat

How Long Do Macadamia Nuts Last? Can They Go Bad?

Macadamia nuts are one of the most notoriously delicious and simultaneously expensive nuts out there. They are incredibly moreish, versatile to a degree where we can’t decide whether we prefer them in desserts or in savoury foods, or just by themselves. So, to have an ingredient such as this expire while sitting in storage would be a crying shame. We don’t think we could forgive ourselves, in fact. Thankfully, it has never happened as we tend to demolish them almost as soon as they get opened.

However, we are aware that this isn’t the case for everyone. Some of you out there may have more discipline and have some tucked away in the back of the pantry. So, what if they have gone a month or so beyond their sell-by date, or perhaps even longer? Is it then the case that absolutely all of them have to be discarded? Well, let’s not get hasty here. Maybe not all is lost. So, in response to these questions, we’ve amassed all of the answers and even chucked in some handy storage tips to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best methods of storing macadamia nuts to make sure they don’t go off prematurely.

 Also read: Substitutes for Macadamia Nuts – What Can I Use Instead?

The Best Way to Store Macadamia Nuts

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As with most food groups, the elements naturally present in most of your kitchens can spell the demise of the macadamia nut. These elements are; too much moisture, air, or sunlight. Long-term exposure to any of these will start to generate problems relatively quickly and may even cause the nuts to turn long before the sell-by date even. So, let’s get into it, starting with the form they are most commonly sold in, shelled.

Shelled Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts possess an incredibly hard shell, so much so that it is nigh on impossible to crack them at home without breaking out a handyman’s vice. But, while manufacturers have done us a favor by saving us from this hardship, nuts in this form generally don’t store for as long as those still in their shells. But fear not, this just means that extra care has to be taken to ensure that the nuts aren’t exposed to the elements mentioned above. You will find that, more often than not, they are sold in vacuum-sealed packages, so your best bet is to try and replicate these conditions as best as possible after opening the package. For best results, either a resealable bag or an airtight container will do pretty good at standing the test of time. To really nail this part, try to keep as little air as possible from interacting with the macadamias by squeezing out as much air as possible from the re-sealable bag.

Whole Macadamia Nuts

Whole macadamia nuts can survive the elements much better than their shelled counterparts because they already possess a natural shield from the elements that may harm them. Because of this, not as much care needs to be taken with them and they can simply just be kept anywhere away from moisture, sunlight, and heat and they will pretty much take care of themselves.



How Long Do Macadamia Nuts Last?


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Thankfully, macadamia nuts do have quite an extended shelf life when they are stored correctly. So, if you have followed the measures above, your macadamias will be good for up to 6 months in the pantry. However, they can last much longer in the fridge or freezer if you really need to do so.


Should Macadamia Nuts be Refrigerated?

Because even unshelled macadamia nuts can last for such a long time in the pantry, we can’t see any real reason to refrigerate them. That is, unless you happen to have bought them in considerable bulk and can’t see yourself getting through them all in a 6-month period. In this case, here is what you need to know…

If treated correctly and stored in a re-sealable bag in the fridge, you can add quite an amount of time to their lifespan, though some will argue that they simply don’t taste as good after refrigeration. However, if left in a sealed state, we estimate that macadamia nuts can last for up to a full year in the fridge before they expire. Should they accidentally be exposed to the climate in the fridge by means of a rip in the bag, or something similar, this time will reduce drastically as the fridge is a naturally moist climate. In the freezer, they can keep for even longer – up to two years! However, it has to be noted that the fresher they are, the better they taste. As such, we can really only recommend freezing them if you have bought a considerable amount in one go.


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Signs That Your Macadamia Nuts May Have Gone Off

Signs of spoilage can be remarkably easy to spot in macadamias most of the time. In terms of spotting for each individual nut, the best indicator is if any are dried up and shriveled looking. The best nuts are always going to be the ones that have a nice smooth exterior and are relatively equal in size to the others. Outliers to this norm should then arouse some suspicion. If you notice that any are dried up and shriveled looking, the safest bet is to chuck them out, as 9 times out of 10 they are not going to taste all that nice.

If it is the case that you have just rediscovered a forgotten bag of macadamia nuts lurking at the back of the pantry, a little more vigilance may have to be exercised. For example, if you notice that even a single nut in the unopened package has mold on it, this means that the whole bag must be discarded. This generally occurs when the nuts have either been left for far too long or if moisture has somehow breached the packaging.

After this point, there is no other test to do other than to get in there and give them a sniff. What you are looking for here is any sign at all that the nuts are going rancid. Should it be the case that the rich, buttery scent of the macadamia has been replaced by a butter aroma, it is time to discard them. Beyond this, if you are still unsure as to their condition, we would advise having a taste of one or two of them. If there is a bitter flavor that is almost reminiscent of the smell of chemicals, that nut is definitely gone.


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Macadamia Storage, Sell-by Dates, and Other Related Questions

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Macadamia Nut Trees in Queensland, Australia | Jacqui Martin/

Why are macadamia nuts so expensive?

Due to how difficult it is to successfully cultivate the plant, and the fact that it takes each tree 7 years to produce a crop, there simply just isn’t enough supply to drive the price down. As recently as 2017, macadamias made the news for a 17% price hike due to these reasons. Another contributing factor is that they are an incredibly hard nut to crack, so hard in fact that manufacturers need to buy specialized processing equipment to do so. Because of the high costs and long wait times associated with beginning to cultivate macadamia nuts, many small farmers choose to look towards other crops to make a living


Where do macadamia nuts come from?

Macadamia originates from Australia but is now grown in favorable climates around the world, in Hawaii, Brazil, Indonesia as well as elsewhere.

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