We’ve all been there- you see a great deal on a big bag of nuts and then are sad to realize later that they’ve gone bad in the weeks (or months) since you first opened the bag. But, it’s no fun having to pass up great deals at places like Costco. Pecans are one of those nuts we always buy when they’re on sale because pecan pie and pecan brittle call for so many pecans to complete the recipe. So, how do you keep pecans fresh for a long time so that you have everything you need next time you need them for a recipe? The answer involves a Mason jar.
Step 1 – Sterilizing Your Jars
The first part of the process is to sterilize your Mason jars. After cleaning in the sink with soap and water, place jars and lids into a pot of boiling water and leave in for ten minutes. Remove with tongs and place on clean scrupulously clean tray or cloth.
Step 2 – Filling and Heating
After the jars have dried, fill them with the raw, shelled nuts. Then microwave them for around 2 minutes to heat the jar back up – this is not in order to cook the nuts. Once removed from the microwave place the lid on and you should hear that familiar “pop” of the lid that comes when canning. The jar has to be hot for this to happen, sealing the nuts from any exposure to oxygen.
Step 3 – Storing Your Pecans
This method should keep your pecans fresh for months, if not much longer. Remember that nuts stored in direct light (like on cabinet or fridge tops) will most likely go rancid quicker. This is because the high oil content in nuts can spoil if exposed to oxygen or to light, hence why canning preserves them so well. If you’ve been storing nuts where they can be exposed to light then that might be why they turn rancid quickly versus jars that stay inside the mostly dark cabinet.
Alternately you can vacuum seal nuts into Mason jars, provided you have a vacuum sealer machine and the jar lid attachment that enables sealing of jar lids. See more on that here. However, this easy microwave method seems a lot easier if you don’t have any fancy equipment on hand.
These methods also work for other raw, shelled nuts, too. So, now you can buy those great big containers of pecans when they go on sale and not worry about having them go rancid too quickly.