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Foods -- Nuts and Seeds

What causes the off-flavors and off-odors in nuts?

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Nuts are high in fat that means they are susceptible to rancidity development and they absorb odors and flavors of foods they are stored near. Nuts in the shell will become rancid more slowly but will absorb off-odors. When nuts are removed from the shell, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. It is impossible to restore a rancid nut to a non-rancid state. And, once the nuts have absorbed flavors and odors from other foods or nonfood items, it may not be possible to drive off the off-flavor odor. Try heating the nuts and seeing if the off-flavor odor disappears.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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