When buying shelled pecans, look for kernels with a bright, golden color. Most packages will have a "best if used by" date on them. Be sure to follow the date codes for maximum freshness. You can extend the recommended dates by storing the pecans in your freezer. The following chart gives the relative storage life of pecans at various temperatures.
Temperature In-Shell Shelled 70 degrees (pantry) 4 months 3 months 40 degrees (refrigerator) 9-18 months 6 months
0 degrees (freezer) 2 + years 2 years
Pecans in the shell retain their high quality longer than shelled. Whole halves will keep longer than pieces.
Pecans will absorb odors from other commodities. They should not be stored near onions, oranges, apples and other odiferous products. Kernels will absorb strong odors of wood, ammonia, paint and petroleum products. Pecans should be packaged in sealable cellophane/polyethylene type bags or glass jars with tight-fitting lids.
If you buy in-shell pecans, then a nutcracker for shelling is a must. The inertia-type cracker works quite well and is available in manual or electric models.
Remember, pecans are good sources of protein, phosphorus, thiamine and energy. They also provide some iron, vitamin A, potassium and niacin.