Do Pumpkin Seeds Go Bad?

Best enjoyed as a healthy snack or as an ingredient in desserts stews and curries, pumpkin seeds are packed with essential nutrients such as protein and antioxidants. These nut seeds are usually sold in bulk so having leftovers is inevitable. So what do you do with the excess? How do you store pumpkin seeds? Most importantly, do pumpkin seeds go bad?

Pumpkin seeds are just like any type of perishable goods, they will not keep forever. Proper storage is a must to extend the shelf life of pumpkin seeds. This goes especially if you bought too many bags of pumpkin seeds! Generally, pumpkin seeds with shells on will keep much longer than de-shelled pumpkin seeds. Still, these products have to be packed properly to maintain freshness. And this goes for store-bought and freshly harvested pumpkin seeds.

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

Freshly harvested pumpkin seeds that have been roasted have a shorter shelf life compared to store-bought pumpkin seeds. The thing with pumpkin seeds is that these products are quite fickle. Even if you stored them properly, there is no way of preventing rancidity from setting in. Our advice is to buy only the amount you need to avoid waste.

How to Store Pumpkin Seeds?

Storing Pumpkin Seeds in the Pantry

Sealed or unopened packs of pumpkin seeds are best kept in the pantry. This goes especially for store-bought pumpkin seeds. Ideally, you want to stash the pumpkin seeds in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, such as the kitchen cabinet. Keep the product away from sources of heat, moisture, and direct sunlight because the seed nuts could degrade much more quickly. Pumpkin seeds are prone to mold growth so do not store this in a humid spot.

Storing Pumpkin Seeds in the Refrigerator

While you can store unopened bags of pumpkin seeds in the pantry, all types of seed nuts are best stored in the refrigerator. Refrigeration is also recommended for opened packets of pumpkin seeds as well as fresh pumpkin seeds. No need to transfer the seed nuts in a different container, store the pumpkin seeds in their original packaging.

For storing freshly harvested pumpkin seeds, you have to roast the seed nuts first before refrigeration. Do note that roasting can accelerate rancidity when the seed nuts are left sitting at room temperature for several hours. This means, as soon as the seed nuts have cooled completely, pack them for refrigeration.

Storing Pumpkin Seeds in the Freezer

Yes, you can also freeze pumpkin seeds for long-term storage. This goes for fresh and store-bought pumpkin seeds. Simply transfer the seeds in a freezer-safe container and keep the container tightly sealed. It’s best to split the pumpkin seeds into manageable portions to make thawing less of a hassle. For raw or fresh pumpkin seeds, clean the seeds first then roast them. Once cooled, pack the seed nuts in a freezer-safe container then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

Shelf Life of Pumpkin Seeds

The shelf life of pumpkin seeds will depend on many factors, particularly how the seed nuts were prepared. When stored in the pantry, pumpkin seeds should keep for at least 2 months. In the fridge, pumpkin seeds will keep for 6 months or so. When stored in the freezer, pumpkin seeds will keep indefinitely. However, we recommend using up the seed nuts within 2 to 5 months for optimal flavor and quality.

How to Tell If Pumpkin Seeds Have Gone Bad

It is hard to tell if pumpkin seeds have gone bad simply because there are not many changes in color once the seed nuts have spoiled. Still, watch out for subtle to significant changes in color or appearance. If you are seeing signs of mold growth, throw the pumpkin seeds in the trash. Sometimes the pumpkin seeds will develop an off-taste, which is a sign of spoilage.

Summary

Do pumpkin seeds go bad? Pumpkin seeds have a long shelf life but that doesn’t mean these seed nuts won’t spoil. Proper storage is important when storing all types of seed nuts, including pumpkin nuts. To make the most out of your supply, keep all the storage tips that we’ve outlined in this guide in mind!