Cashes are a very common food item and there’s so much you can do with them, but sometime we can’t use our entire stock.
So we wonder, can cashews go bad ? If so, what signs should you look for ?
This is what we’ll be talking about in this post, and also give you a couple of storage tips on how to keep cashews to preserve their flavor.
But first, we need to clarify what cashews are so we’re all on the same page.
What are cashews ?
Cashews are the nuts/seeds produced by the cashew tree. You find them in nearly every supermarket or corner store, and they’ve got a creamy, slightly sweet flavor.
Great for snacks, but also great for making vegan or vegetarian alternative milks, creams, or cheeses.
Cashews will always be without shells
You’ll notice the cashews in the sore are always shelled. This is because their outer shell actually contains a toxic oil that can produce irritations on the skin, and food poisoning if ingested.
Don’t worry, the shelled cashews are always roasted or cooked in some way to burn off any stray bit of shell oil, so they’re safe to eat.
Being shelled makes cashews a little easier to dry up, though not enough to really ruin them.
So do cashews go bad ?
Yes, cashews do go bad. Like any other nut or seed, oil and fat content are pretty high, which also helps keep them for a long time (months at at time in some cases).
But after a while they do go bad. It’s usually after about 6 months or maybe a bit less, depending on storage conditions. We recommend eating the cashews long before those months expire.
As for why they go bad, it’s precisely because of that high fat content. In time the fats will become oxidized and turn rancid, which is normal.
Cashews will go bad much faster if kept at a warm temperature, for example something like 28 C/82 F which is way above room temp but can happen in many homes in the summer.
How to tell your cashews are off
If you’ve got your cashews for a while now and aren’t sure if they’re still good, there’s a few ways you can check.
Keep in mind that any flavored or seasoned versions are going to fool you since the smell, taste and even appearance will be very different.
1. The cashews smell acrid
Since what’s breaking down in the cashews is the fats and oils that occur naturally, what’s going to trigger a bad smell is those fat and oils getting oxidized.
It’s usually a cross between a sour smell and a butter smell. Actually if you’ve ever smelled butter that’s gone off then you have a decent idea about rancid cashews.
If your cashews are seasoned or flavored the smell might not come through very well, but if you try hard you might detect it.
2. The cashews are looking oily or shriveled
Another sign to look for is is the way the cashews look. Since these food items do not contain water or too many fibers they won’t look as shriveled or worn as apples, for example.
But very, very old cashews may look a little bit wrinkled and their oils might come to the surface. This usually happens when they’ve been exposed to high temperatures for a long-ish time. Like keeping them in a continuously hot kitchen for a whole week.
3. They’ve become bitter
Another sign is their flavor. Cashews are known for being so deliciously creamy and even a bit sweet. They’re never bitter, even when you get an odd one.
But once they’ve started to go off they will become bitter. The worst combination is when they’re bitter and rancid, then you know you really have to throw them out.
4. Mold or weird discolorations
Finally, the most obvious sign that something’s really wrong with the cashews is mold or any weird patches of color or texture that seem like they shouldn’t be there.
Those usually happen when the cashews are exposed to moisture in some way.
A couple of storage tips for cashews
You can keep your cashews nice and fresh for as long as possible if you store them right. Some of these might sound obvious but they’re easy to overlook sometimes, so we’ve added them for good measure.
1. Never store in direct sunlight or heat
Nuts and seeds do better than most food items when exposed to the elements, but even they get a little sensitive to sun and heat.
This means that whatever you sore your cashews in, make sure they’re not exposed to direct sunlight and they’re not kept in a hot room.
Heat will make them go rancid faster, and direct sunlight can often produce a greenhouse effect that will produce moisture in the container, leading to mold and no one wants that.
2. Keep in airtight container
Always keep your cashews in an airtight container, be it a jar, Tupperware, or anything else you have around the house.
The reason behind this is moisture, or rather keeping the moisture out of the container. This way your cashews will stay crispy and crunchy, unless you’re okay with them being a little softer.
If you’re planning on throwing them in a blender to make cashew milk or cream then this part doesn’t matter that much, the softer they are the creamier the product will be.
3. Consume within 30 days for best flavor
Now cashews can keep for a long time, yes that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you should buy in excess and keep them for a whole year, just because they can last.
Always try to eat your cashews as fresh as you can, since while they do last and their flavor lasts fairly well, there are many variables when it comes to storage.
Some of those variables aren’t controlled by you, like the production quality.
Best to eat cashews fresh, and enjoy them while they last. If you end up with way too many then we recommend making cashew paste or milk and using those in curries or pastries or even in your coffee.
We hope this article was helpful and you got the answers you were looking for. Yes, cashews can and do go bad but there’s things you can do to keep that from happening too soon.
If you’ve got any food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.