By Alyssa Ideboen

Used to make shampoo, dyes, spreads and cosmetics, the peanut offers a variety of uses that are beneficial to everyday living. The humble peanut in its shell makes a fun snack at a ball game, picnic or cookout. Shelled peanuts have found themselves in bowls to fend off hunger at bars and before big holiday meals. Before you devour these protein-packed legumes, learn how to check to see if they are still fresh.

Avoid eating spoiled or rancid peanuts.

Step 1

Look at the surface of the nut. Peanut shells will have a rough, solid brown exterior. No green, gray or white mold should be present. Shelled peanuts will have a papery skin covering the kernel. The kernel itself should be solid and smooth. Do not eat the peanuts if mold is present or the nut looks shriveled or black.

Step 2

Smell the nuts. Peanuts have a strong, nutty smell. Rancid peanuts will smell like sour milk or mold. Do not use peanuts that smell bad.

Step 3

Taste a nut. If you are unsure if a batch of nuts is still fresh, try one. Rancid nuts will taste sour and bitter. Fresh nuts will have a creamy, nutty flavor. Discard nuts if they taste sour or spoiled.

Step 4

Store peanuts in a cool, dry place such as a refrigerator. Keep shelled nuts for four to five months and unshelled nuts for up to a year in an airtight container in the fridge.