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Sep 6, 2013 12:18 PM

Trader Joe's: Rancid Nuts??

I buy sunflower seeds rather often, and use them in bread-baking, salads and for snacks. I've probably purchased at least five bags over the last 2 years that were rancid.

Not horribly terribly rancid, but rancid.

I think TJ's nut buyers don't know how to taste rancidity when it's early on, or else the nuts are being improperly stored, or stored too long. Whatever they're doing is not working.

Just purchased pecans for a summer peach streusel dessert, and two packages were also rancid. Wrecked the entire dessert.

What's been your experience?

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  1. I used to buy almonds (discovered they are cheaper at Costco) there regularly and never had a bad bag.

    I hope you returned your bags and discussed the repeated problem with TJ's because they usually stay on top of things.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Thanks. I contacted them earlier, and nothing changed.

    2. my experience is that trader joe's has great turnover on their nuts, and i buy a lot of nuts there. i store my nuts in the freezer once purchased (no matter where i buy them), since they are full of oil, and that oil goes rancid quickly, especially in the southern CA heat. ymmv, but that's my experience.
      you could always ask to open a bag of nuts in front of a manager, with the understanding that if they are in good condition, you would be happy to purchase them. i don't think any tj manager would have a problem with that, especially if you explained the problem you've encountered. that way, you don't have to purchase nuts that aren't up to your standards, and it would save you a trip back to return nuts you don't care for. also, if you find them to be rancid, the manager should taste too, and that might illustrate the problem better than a report after the fact? rancid nuts make a big impression.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chez cherie

        Good tip to try them in the store. Previously, I only had trouble with sunflower seeds at TJs and other nuts were fine. Now, the pecans were bad too.

      2. Based on all you previous bad experiences I am surprised you didn't try the pecans first before proceeding with the dessert. What a bummer to have it ruined when a simple taste could have avoided it.

        I think at this point you need to vote with your wallet and stop shopping there. While I have never had an issue with TJs nuts, I buy quite a bit, I had a similar problem with a local fishmonger. I no longer shop there and let them know why. Once or twice shame on me but after that I'm done.

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          I should definitely have tried them before adding them to the streusel, you're right. And shop with my wallet, right again.

          What I'm surprised at, is TJ's lack of quality control. Or adequately tasting before purchasing from their suppliers. Or llack of refrigeration. There have been other Chowhound comments on TJ rancid nuts, why is why I'm curious how widespread this is.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            I'm very surprised that you say that others have reported rancid nuts from TJ's. I've never seen this reported on CH before and I'm very surprised. I eat a lot of nuts and although other stores may have some better nuts than TJ's (size, unbroken condition), I have never had any package of nuts from TJ's that was rancid, and for the price I think they are generally just fine. I always check the expiration date on the package, and put them the freezer when I get home...and have never had a problem.

            1. re: josephnl

              I never check anything but am always amazed how fresh their nuts are myself.

        2. my experience is that Costco's nuts are consistently better quality all around than TJ''s.
          the problem is that i don't really consume enough to justify buying the huge costco bags of nuts.

          the nuts available at the bulk food section of my local Bristol Farms are also superior to TJ's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: westsidegal

            I agree, I think it's a turnover issue.

          2. I buy nuts at TJ's all the least 1-2 bags/month for several years. I don't recall ever having a rancid bag. I store nuts in the freezer at home, and they last way past their expiration date. I'm surprised by your experience, but I'm sure that TJ's will happily refund your money on any product you are not pleased with.

            6 Replies
            1. re: josephnl

              I was surprised, too. I've had good success with almonds, cashews, and pistachios. Not so good at all with sunflower seeds, and now, pecans. Stored well at home, that isn't the issue. The bags are opened shortly after their arrival home, with an expiration date several months in the future, and they're still rancid. I know TJs has excellent quality control over other things, but nuts, not so much.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                last week and this week i bought 2 separate bags of mixed nuts/trail mix kinds of things at tj's. in both bags the nuts were old and stale. not quite gone rancid, but definitely not fresh. i do buy almonds from them (different location), so am wondering if the stuff i just had suffers from slow turn-over

                was too much of pita to return them, but i won't buy them again.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  you don't need to return them. next time you are in, take your receipt if you have it, or just tell the captain. my bet is that they will happily make it right for you.

              2. re: josephnl

                I buy nuts there all the time; store them in my fridge .. since so many on here are saying they freeze their nuts, maybe I should do so too. Do I just throw the unopened bags in the freezer or should I put an unopened bag in a food saver or freezer bag?

                1. re: walker

                  If they're not already in recloseable bags I just transfer them to a ziplock and take some out as needed. They don't really get freezer burner because they contain mostly fat, not water.

                  1. re: walker

                    I put the whole bag in a Ziplock in the freezer.

                    But as a long time devotee of the Roasted, unsalted almonds (red label) from TJ's, I can tell you that even the non rancid ones are no longer delicious.

                    I never knew how delicious almonds could be til I started eating those, now they're kind of dry and insipid. And seem smaller.