Hazelnuts are stale if they taste strong and bitter. Sometimes, they can also give off an odor reminiscent of old paint or nail polish remover. Shelled hazelnuts last 3 to 5 months on the counter and more than a year in the fridge. Once again, let's start with cold storage.
Hazelnuts retain quality for at least one year in the fridge and up to two years in the freezer (UOC). When food starts to go stale, it will postpone a bad smell. Smell hazelnuts to see if there is any rancid smell, which is often similar to soap, paint, or sour butter. If it smells strange, you'll want to throw it away.
Not sure how you know if hazelnuts are stale? Well, that's very simple. Most often, they have an unpleasant bitter taste. If the flavor became harsh rather than soft and earthy, that's all. Less commonly, hazelnuts are stale from the paint-like chemical smell.
When buying shelled hazelnuts, choose those that are slightly heavy and have an intact shell that shines with a dark reddish-brown color. Avoid hazelnuts that have signs of cracks or holes in the shell. An easy way to measure the freshness of hazelnuts in the shell is to shake them; if you hear a rattling sound, it's an indication that the nut has lost moisture and may not be fresh. I don't know about you, but my fridge is usually quite full of other food products and there's no room for an extra pack of hazelnuts (or filberts).
If you are going to buy hazelnuts in shell, you will need a good quality nutcracker to break the shell and remove the nut. In cold rooms, hazelnuts can maintain their quality for at least one year in the refrigerator, while they can last up to two years in the freezer. If you live in an area where humidity is high or it's hot outside, transfer hazelnuts to a dry place, such as an ovenproof container or resealable bag, before storing them in the refrigerator so they don't mold. Hazelnuts can be eaten straight from the shell, although a quick roast of the nut produces a rich and intense flavor.
Studies have consistently shown that adding nuts, including hazelnuts, to the diet can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream and lower high blood pressure. Both shelled and shelled hazelnuts last a year or even longer in the fridge, and maintain quality for about two years in the freezer (UOC). Shelled hazelnuts won't spoil for up to three months in your pantry if stored in a cold, dry and dark place. Some people make the mistake of using a paper towel to dry hazelnuts after rinsing them.
It's not just the taste that differentiates a good hazelnut from an already spoiled one, but also its smell. Ground to a finer consistency, they can be made into delicious cocoa hazelnut spreads and can also be used to flavor beverages and treats. When it comes to storage, bagging hazelnuts isn't a good idea, which could be considered the worst. To make sure you're getting all of the valuable nutrients found in hazelnuts, you'll want to make sure they haven't had their best time.
With that in mind, here are some quick and easy ways to keep hazelnuts fresher longer. Shelled hazelnuts can survive in the pantry for 6 to 12 months, while shelled hazelnuts stay for 3 to 4 months.