We are going to begin harvesting all the black walnuts that are falling from the trees this week. The process isn’t complicated it really requires patience.
- Harvest walnuts directly from the tree if you can reach them. The hull should be a yellowish green color. If you cannot reach them harvest them from the ground.
- Remove dry outer skin by pressing on them and peeling away.
- Allow to dry.
Keep gloves on hand and wear old clothes that you do not mind getting stained. If you want to keep your work area free of walnut juice place newspaper or other coverings down on the table.
- Pound on them with a hammer. We suggest wearing safety goggles.
- Create a slurry by using 3 parts nuts, 1 part water and a handful or two of gravel. Stir vigorously, this may take a few tries to get the hulls soft enough to remove.
- Not recommended for safety reasons but you can place them on a hard driveway and run them over. Be aware that parts will go flying and/or you may puncture a tire.
- Check for insect feeding by placing nuts in a bucket of water. Nuts that float discard.
After hulling rinse the unshelled nuts outside under a garden house. Do not compost walnut husks, juglone is a naturally occurring chemical in walnuts and it is toxic to most vegetation.
- Place in a well ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Do not layer walnuts more than 2 or 3 nuts deep.
- Allow to cure for 2 weeks.
- Storing whole (leaving outer kernel on) keep in a well ventilated area with at least 70% humidity.
- Soak the nuts for 24 hours in hot tap water to soften the outer kernel and make them easier to shell.
- Once shelled the nut meat will keep for a few weeks at room temperature. It is recommended to put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 215 degrees if you are storing this way.
- Refrigerate if you are going to use within 9 months.
- Freeze if you are going to use withing two years.
Light, Love and Peace