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Black Walnuts - what do I do with them?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted October 22 2006 - 06:05 AM

I have a huge Black Walnut tree, and every year I wind up with a couple of wheelbarrows full of the nuts, which are rock hard and make a big mess when the fruit is still on them. I am wondering if there is anything useful I can do with these?

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Eric_L



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Posted October 22 2006 - 07:45 AM

As a child I used them to develop my throwing arm. I'm not sure what the farmer who owned the vast and open field across the street used them for... Posted Image

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   mylan



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Posted October 22 2006 - 08:43 AM

My dad had one of these trees and he puts the fruit in a tub until it turns black and then the skins will come off easier. They can then be cracked and enjoyed but wear gloves or the dried skins will turn your fingers black and it is almost impossible to get off. This always seemed to be too much work for very little return, I always just go buy what I need.
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#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted October 22 2006 - 10:26 AM

There is somebody on the NJ Craiglist website trying to give away black walnuts for free!!! Jay
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#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Janna S

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Posted October 22 2006 - 03:02 PM

In an autobiographical essay that my father wrote (he was born in 1918, died in 1997) he described how every fall, he filled gunnysacks with walnuts from the nearby woods, spread the nuts out to dry, stomped off the husks, and picked out the nuts, which stained his hands for months. His mother used the walnuts for Christmas cookies. This was during the depression, in Missouri, and his family grew or raised almost all their food. It's probably not economically practical to harvest nuts these days - most everyone's time is too valuable - but it might be interesting to do for less practical purposes (the same way some of us make clothing that would be cheaper to buy, or spend more refurbishing furniture or cars that could be replaced more cheaply).

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   homthtr


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Posted October 22 2006 - 03:31 PM

Yes my Parents and Grandparents always collected the Black Walnuts. There a premium to buy if you can even find cracked and cleaned black walnuts.

As everyone as said they are a lot of work and are very dirty expecially when the outer fruit is still on surround the nut. The need to be dried and the fruit kinda just dries up and turns black that's about the time to clean the fruit part off.

Then you let the nut itself dry.... another couple months... Then you can start cracking them. ( I remember dad and grandpa in the basement with everything from the vise to hammers and then mom and grandma taking the cracked nuts and picking out the actual "fruit of the nut"

The only thing I don't remember is how good they tasted... seems to me that they were kinda bitter and nasty tasting until they were either roasted or used for making christmas goodies....

I'll stick to buying Cleaned and shelled walnuts and pecansPosted Image

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   ChristopherDAC



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Posted October 22 2006 - 05:10 PM

You can bleach them inside the shell with food-grade 80% hydrogen peroxide. I was reading a trade journal once and came across an ad promoting just that application. I assume this is after the aging-and-drying process, but before the cracking-and-separating step, and prevents the stains on the hands. Peroxide is a powerful oxidizer, though, and not safe to handle.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   KevinGress


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Posted October 23 2006 - 06:52 AM

There are shellers out there that will peel the skin off (as a brief aside, my dad used to boil the skins to dye his fur traps) and then you could go about cracking the shell and getting the 'meat' out. Don't know of any automated process for that though.


#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

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Posted October 23 2006 - 07:10 AM

When we were kids everyone in the neighborhood used to use them as ammunition in our games of war. Our mothers hated it though as they would permanently stain our clothing. Those suckers hurt when you got one in the head.

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