Nuts and dried fruit mixed?
March 8, 2014 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Can nuts and dried fruit be mixed in a container with no decrease in quality or shelf life?

I want to make up a "snack jar" filled with a mix of raisins, cashews, figs and shelled sunflower seeds to snack on. Is ok to combine this mixture or should I keep them in separate contains to keep them fresh and tasty?
posted by BillyAnne to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do this and have never noticed a problem with it.
posted by daisyk at 8:49 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

As long as you eat the mix within a reasonable period of time (two weeks, a month), it should be okay. If it's warm and/or humid, you might run into moisture problems with figs being present, and maybe the nuts going rancid. If you had a giant jar standing in the sunlight for a long time, that is. I'd make up smaller batches and store in a dark cupboard or the fridge in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can also toss in one of those desiccant packets in the container to keep the moisture at bay.
posted by planetesimal at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2014

I buy individual sized packets of trail mix sold at Trader Joes, the mix has dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds (no chocolate or yogurty things). I also buy TJs cashews which are packaged the same way. I've noticed the only cashews packets can stay fresher longer than the trail mix version. I buy these packets to carry in my purse for 'oops, no time for lunch' moments so both kinds are kept in a dark but not necessarily temperature-stable place.

So, based on that one data-point, I think frequent turnover is key. About a month and a half max at room temp, air tight storage for the mix, much less if there's a lot of surface area in the storage container.
posted by jamaro at 9:41 AM on March 8, 2014

I do this a lot. I think I've had some survive for a couple of months, and theres a slight decrease in quality--the nuts and fruit both get a little stale, so that's longer than you would want to keep them if you want the quality to stay high. I don't think that mixing them together has much impact though.
posted by quaking fajita at 12:04 PM on March 8, 2014

The most decrease in quality you will find is if you buy new base ingredients in packages that are sealed by vacuum or processes where the air is replaced by (usually) nitrogen. These processes are designed to retard oxidation and bacterial growth, keeping the food fresh longer. Once it's open, the magic is gone. If your base ingredients come from open packages or bulk purchases (e.g. the self-serve bins at some grocery stores), this is not a concern.
posted by whatzit at 12:37 AM on March 9, 2014

Thanks for all the advice.
I'll limit the amount of snacks in a air tight container to a 2 week supply. I thought that nut, dried fruit and seed combinations commercially packaged were prepared differently than homemade ones.
posted by BillyAnne at 6:36 AM on March 9, 2014

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