Black walnuts - how do you get to the nut?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by SillyChicken, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 12, 2010
    Since the nuts are falling, how do you prep them starting with the green skin, do you let them dry out? What can you do with the green/black stuff? and then what do you do with the nut to preserve it? Keep it in the shell, remove it?

    Theirs a ton in my parents yard and near my home and I've always wanted to know how to prepare/harvest them.
  2. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    If you let them dry out the green shell will eventually fall off and you will have the nut left. It is messy to try to get it off while it is still green. I don't really know about what to do with it after that. I imagine you could crack the shells and freeze the meat part. I know that the meat will eventually shrivel up in the shell, but I don't know how long it takes to get to that point.
  3. country lady

    country lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    Be sure to wear gloves--they will stain your hands. I know that from experience! I've heard of some people running them over with their car--don't know if that works. I've also heard of some shelling them with an antique corn sheller. I think you work with them after they turn brown, but I'm not an authority on them at all.
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    We use a corn sheller to remove the husks.

  5. Chick Norris

    Chick Norris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Chester County, PA
    Wear gloves. Cut off the green "fruit". (If you want you can make ink from this part). Wash the nuts well because the fruit residue can be toxic. Let them dry. Some people use old bulb crates or the like. We just spread them out on newspaper and put the fan on them. After they are dry (this can take one to several weeks), crack them with a vise and pick out the meat. Cracking them other ways usually results in smashed nuts.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you are into dyeing your own wool, linen, cotton or other material, the walnut hulls are something you should look into. It is a natural dye. But they will stain your hands real bad.

    A traditional way to get the hulls off is to pile them in your driveway where you drive over them if where you live allows that. That may not work real well in suburbia but on a country gravel drive it works well. You can crack the hull with a hammer and pull them off, but they will stain. That works best after they have set a while, but the insides will be wet and will stain youir hands and anything else real bad. I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm trying to get a message across about staining.

    They do need to set a while after they are hulled. You really don't have to hull them at all until you are ready to crack them, but they seem to dry better and less of the meat rots in the shell. You have to deal with those hulls at some time anyway.

    You can store them in the shell for months. I usually shell them and put the meat in the freezer in a zip-loc type bag.

    They are hard to crack. I use a heavy vise to open them, them a hammer on an anvil to open the small pieces. A nut pick comes in real handy to get the meat out. I sometimes use a hair pin for that. You can also just use a hammer and vise, but be careful with your fingers. I've heard of people using pliers or something like that to hold the nut while they hit it with a hammer, but I've never tried that. I've also heard of people wrapping the nut in a rag to hold it in place to protect their fingers from the hammer.

    One warning, other than the stain. Do not compost the walnut hulls to use them on your garden. Using it on grass is fine, but not in a garden. The entire walnut tree, including the roots, contains a substance called juglone that can inhibit or even kill certain other plants. Tomatoes are really susceptible. Some plants can grow OK with that substance around, but several cannot. You'll often notice that walnut trees in fence rows or in a pasture often do not have brush or other small trees growing under them. Grass and some weeds, yes but often no brush.
  7. StupidBird

    StupidBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    What Ridgerunner said!

    Grandma & Grandpa put all the nuts in their gravel driveway. Yes, it really stains clothes - ask my Mom. Grandpa would sit out in the shed in the winter, radio on, and crack nuts for an hour or two for Grandma's baking each week.

    Pecan shells are the same way - toxic and staining - and practically sterilized the two beds I used the free mulch on a couple of decades ago. That ground STILL does not grow well!
  8. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Overrun With Chickens

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    Soooo do black walnut hulls stain? [​IMG]

    We have a black walnut tree in our backyard and I remember the first time my kids played with the walnuts and the stains on their hands [​IMG] I didn't know back then that they stained and couldn't figure out what the heck they had got into.
  9. Carols Clucks

    Carols Clucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 13, 2010
    When I was a kid we would gather them up, put in guney sacks and store in the attic until the green skin dried up.

    Then we would peel and have sacks of them.
  10. goldtopper

    goldtopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Near Bert Blyleven
    Yep, my grandpa was smart, and shall we say "economical" with his energy. He'd put them in a burlap sack and lay it in the gravel alley behind his house. Cars would run over them for a few days and he'd be good to go....and then give them to grandma to crack!

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