Think Twice Before Attempting To Make Canned Nuts At Home

While everyone was stuck at home during the pandemic, the world saw an increased interest in DIY cooking projects. People were baking their own bread, making their own pasta, and searching for fun and creative ways to spend their time — and cut costs in the face of inflation. Canning was one such hobby that has continued to be popular but it isn't without risk.

To some extent canning any kind of food is risky. After all, if you don't can your food right without realizing it, you could end up with some unsavory medical problems. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, recent research has shown low moisture foods, like nuts, are particularly vulnerable.

There are two major risks of canning nuts at home. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends against canning nuts altogether primarily due to the risk of salmonella surviving the canning process and the CDC also advises against doing so, citing botulism. Unwittingly leaving moisture in the can also increases the chance that mold spores will start to grow.

How should you store nuts instead?

Although canning nuts isn't recommended, that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to store nuts. When it comes to storage, one thing to consider is oxidation. Over time, oxygen will react with the unsaturated fat in the nuts, making them go rancid. It won't harm you to eat them, but the flavor will be affected.

The best way to store nuts is to freeze them in an airtight container. Most nuts will last around 12 months if frozen or refrigerated and often, you'll find they're still good beyond that. If the nuts are more than 12 months old, make sure to check them before eating or cooking with them. If they are wrinkly, moldy, or have a bad taste, it's best to toss them.

If you don't want to store your nuts in the freezer or fridge, the primary focus should be on keeping the nuts dry and sterile. To dry the nuts you want to store, put them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit until the moisture has evaporated but take them out before they begin to roast and turn brown. Once they're out, let them cool. To sterilize the jars, set them in boiling water for 10 minutes before placing them face-down on a towel. Once the jars are dry, put the nuts in and close the lid. Consider adding a desiccant packet and an oxygen absorber packet if you know it's going to be more than 12 months before you open it again.