Could you provide information about the commercial storage of whole and diced almonds, pecans and hazelnuts? I work for an industrial candy company and we would like to freeze these nuts. What would the shelf life of these nuts be in a frozen state? What type of packaging is needed to store frozen nuts? Do these nuts need to be de-frosted prior to use? Is condensation an issue? Please advise. (R.L.)
In general, in-shell nuts keep longer than shelled nuts, and shelled, whole nut kernels keep longer than diced or slivered kernels under the same storage conditions. The optimal temperature range for storing nuts and their products is 0 -7º C (32-45º F) and the optimal relative humidity range is 60-75%. Expected storage life is up to one year for shelled almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans under these optimal conditions. Nuts can be stored frozen at -18º C (0º F) for up to two years. Expected storage life of diced nuts is about half of that of intact nut kernels. Packaging to minimize water loss is highly recommended whether the nuts are stored at refrigerated or freezing temperatures. Upon removing the nuts from the freezer, they should be warmed to at least 7º C (45º F) before transfer to room temperature to minimize condensation problems.