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I bought a large amount of almonds at a bargain price. While moving the almonds to jars, I spotted a white powder which was very reminiscent of the eggs of the pantry moth. In the past, such powder quickly became larvae that turned into moths.

I don't want to throw away all the almonds. Is there any way to clean them?

  • The powder is not necessarily weevils, it can be simply broken down nut pieces. You will only know for sure after you have seen the larvae. – rumtscho Jun 29 '15 at 10:44
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    @rumtscho There is a difference between broken nuts and moth powder... the latter is more "sticky", as if there is some glue that creates a "cobweb" of powder. You know it when you see it... – Erel Segal Halevi Jun 29 '15 at 11:46
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    The sticky, webbed dust - I always thought that's the excrement of the larvae plus some webbing from pupation? And exactly the reason why infested foods should be discarded... – Stephie Jun 29 '15 at 11:53
  • Ah yes, I know what you mean. Usually, by the time it gets sticky, I also see larvae. But I've mistakenly thought nut powder to be a not-yet-silked-over larvae sign, so I thought this might happened to you. – rumtscho Jun 29 '15 at 13:51
  • If it is a similar situation to raw peanuts, the larva are already in the nut ; so putting them in containers will only trap the emerging insects. – blacksmith37 Jan 21 at 21:45
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My personal choice would be to throw this away just because I'm too squeamish.

But people here use salty water to get rid of larvae from wild mushrooms. The idea is to soak the unprocessed mushrooms containing living insects, which will try to escape and eventually die outside the mushroom. You then rinse couple of times with fresh water and dry it to avoid mould development.

I've found this is used as a laboratory test here with fruit. They use 1/4 cup salt in 4 cups water, but they mash the fruit with a potato masher.

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If you are already seeing larvae dust, the nuts are already nibbled by the larvae, you cannot undo that :( but if you don't mind sharing your food with them, or chomping on the occasional worm, you could try killing them.

I've heard of people using deep freeze. It should kill at least all larvae. The eggs are probably somewhat hardier, but as far as I know, the usual setting of a standard domestic freezer (** or ***) should be enough for killing the eggs too. It can lead to drying out of the nuts, and I don't know if and how you can remove the dead larvae, but soaking them in water would be a good thing to try, as I've frequently seen dead worms float to the top in compotes.

Another thing to try would be high heat instead of low heat. Cooking the nuts through would change them (and their shelf life) a lot, but maybe steaming can work. I don't know how long it has to be before it really kills them though.

In any case, I strongly suggest 1) keeping the suspicious nuts in a completely tight container (I've had worms getting into some standard tupperware containers and similar) and 2) putting up pheromone traps in the pantry, to prevent contamination of further foods.

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I have heard from several people etc that freezing food for 3 days will kill any eggs or bugs on it and prevent it from developing into anything.

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