On the right side of the image, a young woman is wondering if pistachios could go bad. On the left, there is a pile of pistachios.

Can pistachios go bad? (Side effects and fixes)

Pistachio nuts

Do pistachios go bad and rot?

Are your pistachios tasting bitter and harsh? Or, do they smell? Are they still crunchy? Well, if you know the answer to any of these, you probably know the answer to the topic of this post. Pistachios, like anything else in the world, can go bad. What you can do is to learn the signs by which you can recognize the rotten pistachios. In this post, we’ll talk about pistachios’ specifications and their shelf life. Then, we’ll answer more important questions about the best way to store pistachios, and finally what to do if pistachios are going bad. Keep up!

What are pistachios?

Pistachios are the seeds of the pistachio fruit, which is not edible, but its seed is a very popular snack. Pistachio seeds are delicious and tasty greenish seeds that are enclosed in a shell, which, usually, cracks open from one side when the seed is ripe. Pistachios are also very helpful to your body and have many health benefits.

Pistachios’ high nutritional value and delicious taste made them very popular snacks all over the world. Pistachios are used in a variety of foods. You can find pistachios in ice creams, confectionery, candy bars, sausages, and many more. 

Shelf life of pistachios

In order to figure out if the pistachios you are eating are safe or not, it is better to know their shelf life. The following table presents the shelf life of pistachios in shelled, unshelled, and roasted form.

Type of PistachioPantryRefrigeratorFreezer
Shelled6 months12 months 12 months
Unshelled5 months12 months12 months
Roasted (shelled/unshelled)3 months6 months12 months

Do pistachios go bad if left out? 

Well, as you can see in the above table, pistachios expire after about five months when you leave them outside. This drops to three months if they are roasted. If pistachios are stored properly, they will last about 2 weeks at normal room temperature. 

Can shelled pistachios go bad?

Shelled pistachios are more prone to storing unwanted bacteria and dust. They will still be crunchy and edible after 6 months, however, you should always pay attention that room temperature is not an ideal condition for storing pistachios. It is best that you unshell them and roast them for storing in a dry and cool environment. 

How to store pistachios?

First of all, make sure they are fresh when you buy them. Then, although the paper or plastic bags are okay for short-term storage, it is better to use a re-sealable container or bag for long-term storage. Something you should keep in mind is that if you are leaving pistachios out in the open, make sure to put them somewhere far from any sources of light and heat. 

How to tell if pistachios have gone bad?

There are different signs that can tell you about the condition of your nuts (pistachios, obviously!). In the following you can read a few of the tell-tale signs of rotten pistachios:

  • Dried out nutmeat
  • Surface covered with mold
  • Existence of bugs in the packages

If you can see any of these signs, then it’s probably better to toss out the pistachios and the bag they are in, or at least clean the package immediately. However, there is another situation that due to prolonged storage, pistachios have gone rancid, which is not instantly recognizable. 

Rancid pistachios smell like paint, and they may taste bitter and harsh. The unpleasing taste and smell are because of the spoiled fats in the pistachios. Yet, you should know that you don’t need to worry about getting sick from eating a few rancid pistachios. 

What happens if you eat bad pistachios?

As you may know, pistachios are high in melatonin, fiber, fat, and protein. They can help you sleep better, have regular bowel movements, and build muscles. They can also help you get fit and lose weight. All of these perks will probably convince you to eat more, however, eating too many stale or rancid pistachios can lead to digestion problems, such as gas, nausea, and diarrhea, or even more long-term adverse effects. If you are sure they are still edible, roast them for at least 10 to 15 minutes before going nuts on them!

In a nutshell

Next time you are wolfing down bags of pistachios, please do a favor for yourself and take a look inside the bag. If you see mold or bugs, or if they smell, you’d better toss them out right away. Eating rotten, rancid, or stale pistachios is not a good idea, as it can cause short and long-term adverse effects. Share your experience if you ever, accidentally, had rotten pistachios (which is a great name for a rock band!). Also, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family to prevent them from buying and eating pistachios that have gone bad. Thanks for reading!

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