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.

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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.