Test Kitchen tips: Choosing and storing nuts
Because of their high oil content, nuts can go bad quickly and easily. There's nothing worse than biting into a nut gone bad -- rancid nuts tend to have a sharp, bitter flavor, and can ruin a recipe.
When buying nuts, shop at a store that has a rapid turnover -- odds are, the nuts are fresher than at a store where they have been sitting around for a while. Fresh nuts should feel heavy for their size and should be plump and firm and uniform in size; they should not be shriveled, wrinkled, or discolored. If purchasing nuts in the shell, look for whole, unbroken shells. Shake the shells -- if the nut is rattling around, it is probably old and dried out.
Store nuts in a cool, dry place for a couple of days. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to several weeks, and should be frozen if you're going to keep them for any longer than that.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times