Nuts – BEWARE!

I love nuts.  I love them alone, in salads, encrusted on foods, blended with other ingredients as in pestos and just about anyway you can think of.  The only nut I’m not fond of on their own are walnuts.  I think they taste dry.

Over the past few years though I’ve encountered some problems with nuts.  I thought I had blogged about it before but apparently not.  After reading a friends blog the other day it prompted me to share my findings with you.

Several years ago I purchased raw pecans from The Wine and Cheese Place in St Louis.  A favorite place of mine to get wine, cheese and fresh nuts.  I’ve never had an issue with anything there as I’m sure you’ll agree if you’ve ever shopped there.  However, what happened was out of their control although a disclosure statement would have been helpful.

I purchased the pecans around the holidays to make a large batch of my candied pecans to give as gifts.  I made several batches but had some left over that I kept in my cupboard for a week or two.

I happen to be out running errands and my husband called to say that the cabinet containing the pecans was covered with maggots and bugs and they were coming from the bag of pecans.  I was on my way home and when I arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes.

When I spoke to the gal at The Wine & Cheese Place she told me that all raw nuts harbor insect eggs.  If left raw after a certain period of time the eggs will hatch.  If you eat the nuts prior to the eggs hatching, the acid in your stomach will kill them, so you never see these bugs.  I nearly vomited after hearing that.  How disgusting!  I immediately went online to verify and found several sites that mentioned insect eggs on nuts.  This is one of them.

I could have avoided this calamity had I put the nuts in the freezer or cooked all of them.  Too bad I didn’t find this out sooner.  A warning or instructions with the nuts would have been helpful!

Has this ever happened to you?

Another incident occurred 4 weeks ago while vacationing in the mountains of Colorado.  I purchased almonds on sale at the City Market grocery store that came from a local producer.

Upon arriving home, I ate a handful of almonds and one of them tasted rancid so I tossed the bag out.    Later that afternoon and for the next 3 days I was so sick I couldn’t even stand up.

After doing research I found this to be a common occurrence among almonds.  The clue should have been that they were on special and packaged in zip lock baggies.  Blue Diamond shares important information about maximizing the shelf life of almonds that I found useful the next time I decide to purchase them.

The majority of nuts are said to be heart healthy which besides loving them makes them more attractive.  Some offer greater benefits than others but overall they’re said to help lower your LDL, low-density lipoprotein or “bad,” cholesterol level in your blood, they’re rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, contain fiber and Vitamin E along with a host of other benefits.  Yet, caution must still be taken.

(photo from Frieda’s)

My most recent revelation was when Dianne blogged about pine nuts, a nut I use often especially when making pesto. She came down with “pine mouth”.  I’ve never heard of or experienced this however, it appears the key factor here as well as other nuts, is quality.  Rather than purchasing on sale or inexpensive nuts it’s best to splurge, for safety and quality.  If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!

Buyer beware!  Next time you decide to purchase some nuts it’s best to do a bit of research.

Have you encountered a negative experience after purchasing nuts?  If so, please share it with us, so that we can all become better consumers!

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33 comments

  1. These are great tips! I keep most of the nuts I buy in the freezer- they’re so expensive I try to keep them where they’re the least likely to spoil! When I forage pecans, I try to crack them as soon as possible and then freeze them, because I’ve had problems before with worms in them. Eeeww. And pine nut mouth? I had it a year and a half ago and I haven’t eaten a pine nut since. I bought them at a reputable grocery store, and they weren’t the “cheap” ones either. I had a horrible soapy taste in my mouth for about ten days. The only good thing was that I lost a few pounds because the taste was worse when I ate. 🙂

  2. Oh heavens, worms! That’s revolting. Were your nuts still in the shell or out of the shell? It just takes one time for something like that to happen and you’re sure to take every precaution the next time.

    That’s a great idea to make it a habit to forage through them but sometimes it’s difficult to tell. The almond I ate looked and felt just like the others but maybe I didn’t look close enough. I will next time.

    However even with the pine nuts you ate, it’s just not always that easy to tell. Maybe a sniff test might help! Sorry you had to go through that. I can’t imagine losing my taste for 10 days, that must have been rough.

    Thanks for your post.

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  4. Great tips thank you! I just love pistachios and hazelnuts my favorite!!

  5. Sorry the message left before I finish I hit the wrong thing. Anyway, I have seen worms in pistachios and they were canned. I now have always refrigerated them. Some I have used after a year old and still just as fresh as the day i bought them tasting, hopefully they will never make me sick but I dont use almonds much and pinenuts by the tiniest bag and use the same day… thanks again sorry you got so sick
    🙁 !

  6. Wow – I have to say that’s shocking! I never knew that! Nuts don’t last long at our house and I always freeze raw nuts…. I’m glad I do! This post is something everyone should read!

  7. Hi Ann,

    Typically nuts don’t last long at my house either but on that one instance I had bought a large batch and didn’t use it all. Who would have known. However, based on some other posts apparently it’s common.

    Please feel free to pass this on or forward to your friends.

    Thank you for your post!

  8. Even I freeze raw nuts…but, let me tell you, this is a great post…something which we all should be knowing. Thanks!

  9. I learned my lesson. I usually use them up so quickly it’s never been an issue, until that time. Live and Learn.

    Thank you for your post Purabi Naha!

  10. Oh my god – I never knew this either! Usually the nuts I buy are already roasted so I probably wouldn’t have a problem, but I will definitely keep this in mind if I decide to buy any raw ones.

  11. I recently ate some Fisher Pecan Halves that let my mouth feeling weirdly coated with dust and extremely dry.  Soon I came down with a respiratory infection that i assumed was moutain cedar allergy or a viral cold.  Terrible cough for one week that is better now at ten days out but still there.  I stumbled onto reading and realized its no cedar allergy or viral cold that hit me; instead i have indeed been POISONED by aflatoxn from bad pecans!  Then last night SUDDENLY I noticed a painful weird irritation/pain far in the back of my mouth and tongue.  Today the pain persisted and when I finally bothered to look into my mouth i was stunned to see a red inflamed knot the size of a nickel on my right side submandibular (the soft tissue beyond my last moler approaching my throat).  Upon further reading today my suspicion of aflatoxin poisoning from the bad Fisher pecans was absolutely confirmed because such toxins are known to not only leave the dry dusty feeling in my mouth, respiratory illness with congested persistent cough…but also to further infects these glands!  I’m seeking medical attention asap.  This illness is NOT due to a food allergy, it is due to POISONING from dangerous fungi.  Read-up on it…it’s obvious that food industry pushes the public’s blind acceptance of food-borne illness as being caused by ALLERGIES when actually these illnesses, that can be deadly, are caused by extremely dangerous POISONINGS from all kinds of mycotoxins from molds, fungi, bacteria in TAINTED FOOD.  Read up on our food supply in our supermarkets and you too will soon learn that the vast majority of foods on the shelves, processed or not, are not just unhealthy choices but actually choices that contain toxins that are known carcinogens and killing us.  Believe me, only the uninformed and find nancially-challenged are continuing to mindlessly feed from the crap sold to us in our industrial supermarkets.  There are other sources for REAL FOOD worthy of consumption but unf the vast majority of society cannot afford the HIGH DEMAND COMMODITY that is safe old-fashioned real nutritious food.   DO NOT EAT SOY…IT IS NOT A PLANT MEANT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.  Read-up on SOY LECITHIN…it is a byproduct of industry with no nutritional value or purpose…but instead of incurring any cost for proper disposal of it…you will find it is instead added as an “ingredient” in the vast majority of food “product” sold to us for our consumption…then OUR BODIES “silently” dispose of this waste product for “free.”  But at what real cost to us?  My eyes are wide open now after this POISONING.  Damn, I splurged $11 on that bag of Fisher pecans thinking I landed on a healthy snack…now I’m completely turned off of all nuts after all my recent reading…even peanut butter!   Want to lose weight?  Read-up on MYCOTOXINS in food because you’ll lose your appetite.

    • It is frightening isn’t it? Thank you for sharing this, I’ll take a look at the things you mentioned. Sorry for just now seeing this. There’s a lot of things we aren’t aware of when it comes to eating. Growing our own food is probably to best way to know what’s actually in it. Then of course who knows what’s in the soil. Just be a good consumer and read what you can – I suppose!

  12. I have this bag pf organic walnuts and have been eating them on salads. I noticed hair looking things on the walnuts inside the bag. I am truely trippin. I thought this happend one other time with a previous bag. What the hell are these things?

    • Rodents probably! Apparently it’s unavoidable so it’s best to buy them roasted, roast them when you get home or place them in the freezer which would all kill any eggs, etc.

  13. I have consumed nuts (Almonds, Cashews, English Walnuts, Pecans etc) by the pounds I will go through about 10 lbs a month. I usually buy the Blue Diamond branded Almonds, Fisher Branded Pecans, and then Planters mixed nuts without peanuts. I found that a few pecans had dropped down to the floor under my big comfy chair that rarely gets moved and we found worms all over the remains of several almonds! I estimate they were there for maybe 2 months. Ewwww! We cleaned up the mess and sprayed the rug to kill any remaining eggs.

    My question is: Can I Microwave the nuts prior to me mixing them together to kill any eggs in the nuts as I don’t have room in the freezer to freeze them? Anyone who can answer this I welcome all comments.

    • I would put them in a skillet and roast them. However I believe the Blue Diamond are already roasted so maybe those that fell under your sofa just attracted something from the outdoors that came in and found them to nibble on.

  14. I ask the Lord to bless the ingredients on the food l eat, you never know what’s in the food, even fresh food when I’m saying grace and blessings at mealtimes and smack times (when l remember).

  15. OK just ate a whole walnut full of larvae and no one talks about if it’s safe or not because I ate it long time ago so no point on puking. All I want to know if there is any dangers on eating them. So gross I’m literally tripping ballz. Now my belly is making weird continuous vibrations. Must be the weedbutter I used to cook my omelettes this morning.

  16. Recently I found tiny insects/worms? in mixed, unsalted nuts from Costco. They had been roasted. I have been eating these for the health benefit-now I cannot fathom eating nuts again! They had been kept sealed in my pantry. The creepy crawlers we found in a small sealed plastic container I had in my car. My question? Was the larvae in the nuts all along g and then hatched from the I tense heat in the car (souther summet)

    • What I was told is that all nuts have insects and yes the larve will hatch if not put in the freezer. However typically if the nuts have been roasted that shouldn’t be an issue. It’s when the nuts are raw. It took me a year before I ate nuts again but now I just stash them in the freezer. It’s so disgusting! Thank you for commenting. I hope you browse my site. Have a great weekend!

    • Yes apparently that would be the case. They can only hatch when warm, if put in the freezer they die. If eaten immediately the acid in your stomach will kill them. Sickening I know. I didn’t eat nuts after that for a long time. Now i’m eating them again but purchase smaller amounts or place them in the freezer upon purchase.

  17. I just purchased 3 pounds of pecans from a co-worker, who has trees on her property. I attempted to try a few today and noticed the bugs. I’m not sure how to address the issue. I was planning on baking with these for my family but now I’ll be throwing them in the trash but I need to make sure I don’t spread the bugs. UGH! I don’t do bugs at all.

    • Just be sure you seal the bag up well and toss them outside. Apparently if you roast them immediately or put them in the freezer that shouldn’t happen. Isn’t it awful? So sorry that happened to you too. Have you thought of mentioning it to her or just letting it go?

  18. I had a similar experience. I had purchased raw brazil nuts on sale at a former Woolworth outlet that were in a paper bag. When I got home I poured myself a beverage and sat down and put two in my mouth. I noticed a slightly salty taste but didn’t thing anything of it and ate them. I put two more nuts in my mouth and these felt a little slimy to me but didn’t notice anything. I then started looking at all the nuts in the bag and noticed maggots on them. I almost puked. From now on I am only buying nuts from a reputable store and I am making sure that no nuts go in my mouth until I look at each one.

    • OMG Jim I think I would have died if I saw the maggots after ingesting some of the nuts. I purchased mine from a high end gourmet shop and it still happened. Apparently if stored in the freezer immediately then it kills any eggs from pests or anything that could be live. It’s revolting to think about. I didn’t eat nuts for a long time after this post. Now that I’m talking about it again, it makes me want to stop eating them again.

  19. I have a very dangerous Soy allergy so all my nutes must be purchased still in a shell. I crack them and then roast them and only then do I store them in the fridge or freezer. I think we all should go back to the way our grandparents prepared, stored and ate their foods. We would all be a whole lot healthier.

    • Kelilah I think you have an excellent point. Had I purchased these with the shell on them I may not have had that issue. That said the shop did tell me in the future to store them in the freezer until ready to use as well as any leftovers.

  20. Hi…I suppose I cab be cynical, for all its government talk Australia has very little real protection from pests, 2 and poly-legged. We did in the past but the globalisation madness allows import of vast quantities of materials (e.g Bunnings and other businesses now importing tools and materials dominantly fro China) and food stuff without inspection, (Aldi, Woolworths etc.) presumably to be a ‘good globalisation marketplace neighbour’ to uncaring nations, setting aside disloyalty to Australians for profit, Usually I freeze rice and porridge to kill the bugs, but never dreamed Aldi’s almonds would carry the bug I found. The almonds went straight from packet to sealed containers and most eaten, As time progressed I began to feel ill from eating them so the last lot stayed in a ‘seriously’ sealed container, about half filled , a very tight fitting lid unopened for over a month. Today I wondered what was happening with some grey inside it…opened it and immediately striped flies emerged (Moths?) and a web was substantial side. I immediately clipped the lid down again I killed all escaped but one…Without further escape poured boiling water into the container. Almond dust was copious…but how do they live without replacement air? I will take the container to Aldi I don’t expect it will care, but I’ll do what I can.

    So Aldi and presumably hundreds of other stores import pests with no restraint. Shame on you is a minor criticism, Today technology would allow killing these pests but why care? the more infected with pests from other nations the less governments have to do to protect us….instead just run the places for their own ‘id’.

    • Sorry that I’m just now seeing this. The nuts I purchased were from a high end gourmet shop so I was quite surprised when it occurred. They did however confirm that it happens quite often and that in the future I should store any unused nuts in the freezer and if not using right away to freeze them.

      As for the malware thank you. I’ll look into it.

  21. ps your site attracts numerous ‘bad’-malware (I realise that’s a tautology) I’ve not seen before…. as I am finding right now as EMSI, thought to let you know

  22. I can see how purchased pecans can have worms but it would be rare simply because the worms begin living in the outer hull that protects the pecan. Most often they do not have enough time to bore into the shell of the pecan before harvest because the outer hull provides enough nutrients. I harvest my own pecans from my own tree and never crack a pecan that is with flaws. I try to get them in the freezer ASAP but have left them on the shelf for as long as a month. 

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for your reply. These were raw shelled pecans that I had purchased at a store here in town. They sell them in bulk either raw or roasted. Since I was going to be cooking them they sold me the raw ones. However, I didn’t use all of them up and had them in my pantry at the time. They were probably there about 2 weeks. Forgive me I don’t recall the exact length of time since it was years ago but i believe it was just about 2 weeks. It was awful! The store did confirm that it’s common.

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