With cost of living continually on the rise, most of us are looking to save wherever we can. When it comes to apricot seeds, and other seeds and nuts for that matter, buying in bulk is often a great way to lower your costs. But, because nutrient dense foods are best consumed in moderation you are probably wondering exactly how long you can store them before they are past their prime. After all, you may not actually be saving anything if they go bad on you before you can eat them all, right? Nobody wants that. Here’s how to get the most bang for your buck.

The bad news and the good news!

First, let’s get the bad news out of the way: there is no magic cutoff for shelf life because the rate at which products age is directly related to a number of variables which standardized expiration dates can’t accurately take into account. On the other hand, because these factors are quite easy to control, you can proactively ensure your seeds last as long as possible.

What influences the shelf life of seeds and nuts?

When it comes to the storage of seeds and nuts, the primary concern is preventing the onset of rancidity. Scientists have dedicated entire books to this subject in order to help us better understand and therefore avoid this. Essentially, rancidity is the breakdown of an oil’s fatty acid content, caused either by oxidation or enzymatic activity.4 Apricot Seeds are roughly 40% oil, and this specific oil is extremely rich in unsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid and linoleic acid (also known as Omega 3 and Omega 6).1 While these fatty acids are excellent for promoting heart health, their high content does mean that Apricot Seeds will keep best when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place with low humidity.

According to numerous shelf life studies4 performed on a wide array of seeds and nuts, exposure to air, heat, ultraviolet light, and moisture all contribute to the degradation of oils by oxidation and stimulate the expenditure of valuable enzymatic activity an enzymatic activity that would go to better use in your digestive system.

Where and how should you store Apricot Seeds?

A fridge or cellar would be an ideal storage location, provided the seeds are adequately protected from moisture. Airtight resealable bags are a good option, particularly if you purchase more seeds than you expect to use within a year or so. In fact, we’ll even get you started on the right foot if you opt for our 10 lb option because we know you will likely be storing some of those seeds for a little while; just let us know if you want the seeds packaged in 8 oz, 16 oz, or 32 oz resealable bags. You could also use a vacuum sealing food preserver if you want to portion your seeds in custom sizes.

Freezing seeds

If you are wondering why we haven’t mentioned the idea of freezing apricot seeds, that’s because it really isn’t necessary, and in general when it comes to protecting a food’s maximum nutritional content it is best to avoid extreme temperatures at either end of the spectrum if possible. We’ll likely discuss this subject at greater length in a later post.

If you already have seeds that have not been kept under these conditions, don’t fret just yet. The best way to tell how potent your seeds are is by a simple taste test: if they are still tasting bitter but not stale, they should be fine.  At Apricot Power, we have even kept apricot seeds two years or more without problems. But don’t worry; the ones we send our customers are always packed fresh from the most recent harvest!

So, what do you do if you happen to find yourself with rancid seeds?

Because bitter apricot seeds are, not surprisingly, extremely bitter, it is a good idea to be familiar with the flavor of a fresh, bitter apricot seed before determining that yours are past their prime and not simply outside your normal flavor palate of choice. If the latter happens to be the case, we have some wonderful apricot seed recipes that can help mask the bitterness.

However, if your seeds have, in fact, gone rancid, it’s best to get some fresh ones. Discussions on this subject range everywhere from suggestions to just rinse them off before you eat them3 to frightening cautions about potential reactions and side effects.2

According to Timothy Sly, professor of Epidemiology at Ryerson University, the truth is somewhere in between. “You will read alarming accounts of the “poisonous” characteristics of rancid foods. This has been far overstated”, states Professor Sly. “Regularly ingesting polyunsaturated fatty acids that have developed peroxides does deplete some of the vitamin reserves (C, E, D, A). And, yes, it is true that if you regularly incorporate rancid oils on a large scale over a lifetime, you have a slightly increased risk…But under normal conditions, a few rancid nuts, or graham crackers is not a health issue. Some cultures deliberately allow and expect marine (fish and mammal) oils to acquire a rancid taste.”5

In short, eating a few past-due apricot seeds would probably not be the worst thing you could do (not much different than eating a stale almond or sunflower seed) but the nutritional content would not be up to par with fresh seeds since all those wonderful Omega 3’s and 6’s and enzymes wouldn’t be in top condition. While you wouldn’t want to make a habit out of eating seeds that are past their prime, consuming them here and there in the process of testing your seeds’ freshness shouldn’t be a problem.

Despite the fact that there is no one exact answer to the question of how long Apricot Seeds can be stored, hopefully, this information has reassured you that it is definitely feasible to buy apricot seeds in bulk and maintain their potency.

 

References:

  1. OilHealthBenefits. Apricot Kernel Oil. [online] Available at: https://oilhealthbenefits.com/apricot-kernel-oil/
  2. Borten, D. Your Nose Should Know – Dr. Peter Borten, LAc, DAOM. [online] Peterborten.com. Available at: http://peterborten.com/all/oxidation-educate-your-nose/
  3. Lope, J. (2016). [online] Quora. Available at: https://www.quora.com/How-would-you-try-to-make-rancid-walnuts-more-edible
  4. Sciencedirect.com. Rancidification – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/rancidification
  5. Sly, T. (2017). [online] Quora. Available at: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-consequences-of-eating-rancid-nuts