What's the best way to store tree nuts?
Once shelled, tree nuts have only so long before they go stale and lose their peak flavors. Our shelled almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are placed into heat-sealed packages with dry silica gel packs to keep their freshness for longer.
Like most foods, tree nuts can spoil or go rancid quickly when exposed to heat, moisture, or direct sunlight. It's best to store them in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. If you're eating them every other day and in a cool, dry region, it's OK to leave them out in our resealable bag or an air tight container for at least 2 months but usually not more than 6.
If you're in a hot and humid region, we suggest that you eat the tree nuts as soon as possible, or do store them in a refrigerator or freezer after opening. Once placed into the fridge or freezer, treat the nuts like ice cream. Only take out what you're going to eat. The sudden change back to room temperature can cause condensation and moisture to seep into the nuts. The moisture can alter the flavor and textures, and will cause the nuts to spoil or even grow mold.
Some suggest that you store your tree nuts in a fridge or freezer as soon as you bring them home. While this does work to maintain freshness and can keep your tree nuts relatively fresh for almost 2 years, it's not our first preferred method of storage. From our experience, they're still "good" but the flavors and textures just aren't the same as they were before freezing.
How can I tell when tree nuts have gone bad?
First off, tree nuts are seasonal. And with any seasonal food, there is a certain period of time when they are at their best.
Different tree nuts will go bad at different lengths of time based on their fat and oil content. There are also other factors that can contribute to tree nuts going bad sooner like not being dried properly after harvest or hot and humid environments. Almost all of the time, you can tell when a tree nut has gone bad if it has a sour smell or an abnormally bitter taste. They even get softer and lose their original crunch. Shelled almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are harvested in the late fall or early winter, so they're usually still fresh up past the summertime when packaged properly. After that, freshness depends entirely on how they've been stored.
A word to the wise, always check for freshness if you're buying from bulk bins. The fats and oils in tree nuts gradually oxidize and go stale when exposed to air, light, and warm temperatures. Also, you don't know how long they've been sitting there and you rarely ever know if they are from the new season's harvest or event from the year before. Again, we suggest purchasing packaged tree nuts when you are ready to eat them and while they're in season.
How are your products packaged?
After our almonds, walnuts, or pistachios are harvested, hulled, shelled, and dried they are delivered to our California organic certified packaging facility. There the product is placed into our food safe packaging and sealed as soon as possible to maintain freshness. A dry silica gel pack is added to prolong freshness and to prevent moisture from causing early spoilage.
Why aren't your products offered year round like other brands?
We want to offer you the highest quality and freshest California foods. This means our products become available as soon as they're harvested and ready to eat. Tree nuts, Fruits, and produce are seasonal, and you can only harvest them once a year. And since our products come from small batched farming, there's usually not a whole lot of them to begin with. Once they're gone, they're gone.
Other brands offer their products year round because they may be acquiring larger commercial inventory and storing excess amounts in freezers, which they often call "cold storage." It's gotten to the point where you might not know if those products are from this most recent harvest or even the one before it. Admittedly, freezers do help keep the freshness to a certain degree, but if you ask us, we believe an almond from August does not have the same taste or texture as an almond from January, whether or not it was stashed in a freezer. And at True California, we only want to offer what we'd share with our own friends and family.
Why don't you offer unique flavors like honey bbq or wasabi soy?
At True California, we want to be your healthier choice so we strive to keep almost all of them in their purest forms. We believe that adding seasoning or flavors just gets in the way of the taste that nature intended. Each tree nut variety really does have its own character and flavor profile that's easy to distinguish when fresh and high quality. Additives only prevent us from enjoying their natural gifts.
Are your walnuts truly raw and dried at temperatures below 115° F?
Our walnuts are dried at a temperature of 106° F or lower. Often times, depending on ambient temperature, the heat is turned off and only forced air is used.
For your pistachios, does the 1 ounce serving size include the shells?
The serving size and nutrition facts are based on eating just the kernels (pistachio meat) without the shells.
Are your Pistachios "raw"?
Our True California raw pistachios have been steam-pasteurized per California law but are still considered "raw" because they have not been roasted or seasoned in any way. The pistachios also go through the common post-harvest process of being hulled and air dried with forced air.
Are your almonds steam pasturized?
Due to a series of life-threatening salmonella outbreaks from unpasteurized California almonds in the early 2000's, the USDA, CDC, California Almond Board, and FDA collaborated to develop today’s current law that requires all commercially sold California grown almonds to be pasteurized. It's to help save lives. All our almonds are grown, harvested, and packaged in California so our almonds have been steam pasteurized.
The steam is only applied to the almonds for less than 60 seconds. This means only the surface is heated to eliminate the harmful bacteria while the internal almond "meat" is not. Extensive tests by the Almond Board of California and independent third parties have determined that the steam pasteurization process doesn’t significantly change the almond’s nutritional value at all. It’s true that the process does reduce some nutrients and alters some chemicals in the almonds, but experts from the FDA and food quality control organizations agree that any changes are insignificant and don’t outweigh the safety benefits from destroying dangerous bacteria and pathogens. It's just not worth it for anyone to get salmonella!
Do your products have any cross contamination with potential allergens?
Our packaging facility does not handle wheat, corn, rice, soy, diary, eggs, gluten, white vinegar or oats. They process only nuts and dried fruit. The facility may also process quinoa once or twice a year.
The facilities are also organic certified and adhere to strict organic processing rules. Each time a new product is being packed like almonds, walnuts, or mixed nuts, the equipment and surfaces must be cleaned and sterilized according to USDA organic standards. These steps are put in place to avoid cross contamination.
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