Black Walnuts - what do I do with them?

Jeff Ulmer

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Aug 23, 1998
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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?
 

Eric_L

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Eric
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...
 

mylan

Screenwriter
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Jan 6, 2005
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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.
 

Janna S

Second Unit
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Feb 17, 2001
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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).
 

homthtr

Supporting Actor
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Sep 5, 2006
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Steve
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 pecans
 

ChristopherDAC

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AE5VI
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.
 

Kevin Hewell

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Mar 28, 2003
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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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