This information applies to most other nut butters. A lot of this is common sense, but I found a few surprises, (such as raw almonds keep longer than roasted ).
Start with the freshest organic raw almonds you can find.
Freshness: Buy from a store with a high turnover rate. Taste one in the store for freshness and flavor. Some health food stores stock prepackaged almonds in a refrigerator (e.g. The Natural Grocer in Austin sells raw Spanish almonds with a “Packed-on date”). You can also buy them direct from a grower. Here’s where I buy mine. If you’re buying California almonds, keep in mind that they’re harvested in August, September and October. Make sure to ask for the latest harvest.
Raw: Don’t buy roasted almonds unless you want to eat them right away. The high temperatures used in roasting changes the cellular structure of the almond.
Organic: Buying organic assures you that the nut was grown without pesticides and that other chemicals weren’t used to sterilize the nuts.
Remember to avoid the food storage villains: Oxygen, Moisture, Warm temperatures, Temperature swings and Light.
Packaging from best to worst:
- Original glass or metal packaging.
- Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside a 10-gallon, food-grade bucket with a tight seal.
- Freezer-grade Vacuum storage bags (Buy the rolls, not the bags, they’re a better deal).
- Glass or ceramic containers with a tight seal.
- Ziploc style freezer bags
- Plastic bags
Storage Method from best to worst:
- Cool closet
Long-term storage best case scenario:
According to Calvin Arnold, director of Agricultural Research in Monticello, Florida, keeping almonds in the freezer is a good way to keep them stable and fresh tasting for several years. Package fresh, raw organic almonds in a mylar bag with oxygen absorbers, then store them in the freezerHowever, I found quite a few raw food websites that state freezing nuts destroys the Vitamin E, one of the almond's main claims to fame..
No room in the freezer? Then store the Mylar-packaged nuts in the fridge. Once the bag has been opened, the almonds should be kept in the fridge, in a jar with a tight seal. They should last six more months. One blogger claimed to have sealed her nuts in vacuum sealer bags, stored them in the refrigerator, then opened them the following year and compared them to trecently harvested ones. The results were excellent. I will test this myself and report on it next year.
No fridge? Store the Mylar packaged almonds in a food-safe, 10-gallon bucket with a good seal in a cool, dry area. The cooler the better. Temperature swings are undesirable.
For not-so-long term storage:
Store almonds in an opaque glass, ceramic, or metal container with a tight seal in the refrigerator.
If the fridge goes out, they will last for several more months on the shelf.
Almond Butter from raw or roasted almonds
Even though I’ve found the most delicious almond butters are freshly ground in the grocer’s bulk department, if its long term storage you’re after, buy a pre-packaged brand. The raw style keeps longer than roasted. Buy from a store with a good turnover. Check the use-by date.
Long term storage best case scenario:
Keep almond butter in the fridge, even before it’s opened. This will keep the light out and the temperature stable. Once opened, make sure to use a clean implement to mix and serve it. (Don’t butter your toast then dip it in the almond butter). These clever devices here and here screw onto the jar and mix the oils and solids. (Make sure you buy the model that fits the jar size of your favorite brand) Eat it up before the use-by date, but if you don’t, you don’t necessarily have to throw it out. Smell it. If you detect a whiff of industrial oil or oil paint, it’s probably rancid. Although I’ve read rancid almonds won’t make you sick, I don’t recommend eating them. Also keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks moldy or suspicious. Don’t eat it if it doesn’t look or smell right.
If you don’t have electricity, you can store almond butter on the shelf for up to nine months, and after it’s opened, for up to three months, but again, use your eyes, nose and common sense.
Almond butter made from soaked or sprouted almonds
I’ve not been able to find a reliable source of information on this, so I can only offer my own experience. I store my soaked almond butter in an airtight container in the fridge and its lasts for 2- weeks. I wouldn’t recommend storing it out of the fridge, because that’s a great scenario for mold growth. Please write in if you find a reliable source on this subject.