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. But before you devour these protein-packed legumes, learn how to check to see if they are still fresh.

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.

Next, try smelling the nuts. Peanuts have a strong, nutty smell. Rancid peanuts will smell like sour milk or mold. Do not eat or set out peanuts that smell bad.

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.

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.

Tip

Check the label on your package to make sure you consume or use the nuts by the expiration date.

Warning

Tasting one or two nuts that are rancid will not harm your health, but eating large quantities of rancid nuts can cause food poisoning. Use caution when checking the freshness of peanuts.

About the Author

Alyssa Ideboen

Alyssa Ideboen has been writing professionally since 2005. She has contributed to several print and online publications, including "Lexington Woman" and "Global Business" magazines. Ideboen holds a Bachelor of Arts in business management and communication from Judson University.