How to Tell If Walnuts Have Gone Bad

By Stella Oakley

Walnuts are a nutritious, flavorful nut that add healthy fats, antioxidants and protein to your diet. They can be eaten plain, as a snack or added to baked goods, salads, casseroles and other dishes. Just 1/4 a cup of walnuts provide 90 percent of daily value of omega-3 fatty acids to a 2,000-calorie diet. Because of the omega-3s and an antioxidant called ellagic acid, walnuts are especially beneficial for heart and joint health. Its important to refrigerate walnuts in an airtight container to prevent rancidity.

Walnuts are harvested in December but available year round.

Step 1

Keep track of when the walnuts were purchased. Walnuts that are bought in the shell and stored in a cool place can stay fresh for up to a year. Chopped and ground walnuts should be consumed within a month or kept frozen.

Step 2

Smell the walnuts. Fresh walnuts should smell mildly nutty. Bad walnuts will have a smell that resembles paint thinner.

Step 3

Rattle the shelled walnut. Fresh walnuts should feel heavy when shaken, and the kernel should not rattle.

Step 4

Examine the shell for tiny wormholes, which expose the walnut to air and create spoilage.