Monday, October 3, 2011

Black Walnut Harvest

The Black Walnuts are falling here in Hickery Holler.  According to Wikipedia its primary native region is the midwest and east central United States, the black walnut was introduced into Europe in 1629. It is cultivated there and in North America as a forest tree for its high quality wood. Nuts are produced more by open-grown trees. Black walnut is more resistant to frost than the Persian walnut (also known as the English walnut), but thrives best in the warmer regions of fertile, lowland soils with a high water table. It is a light-demanding species. The wood is used to make furniture, flooring, and rifle stocks, and oil is pressed from the seeds. Nuts are harvested by hand from wild trees. 

About 65% of the annual wild harvest comes from the U.S. state of Missouri and the largest processing plant is in Stockton, Missouri. The black walnut nutmeats are used as an ingredient in food while the hard black walnut shell is used commercially in abrasive cleaning, cosmetics, and oil well drilling and water filtration.

Black walnuts are very low in saturated fat, yet very high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are the good fats that can lower bad cholesterol while maintaining good cholesterol.
Adding a few of these nuts to any dish can help boost its protein, iron and fiber content without adding sugar. They also make a nutritionally similar substitute for the tree nuts that are enjoyed in the now-popular and healthy Mediterranean diets.
You can even eat black walnuts for better overall cardiovascular health, as they contain large amounts of omega-3 fats, which help support cardiovascular function.

I like like black walnuts for baking although you sometimes have to cut down on the measurements a small bit as native black walnuts can be  a little stronger than the English walnuts so often found in the stores. They are a great addition to pies, cakes, breads  and muffins. Sometimes I also toast a few and throw into a salad. 

We are fortunate that they are a native tree here and we have many that we have planted on the property. Many are young trees scattered through the fields and fence rows. I don't like them right up near the house because those same nuts can become projectiles when ran over with a lawn mower. We pick them up daily to try to beat the squirrels to them which can sometimes be a challenge.   

Once picked up we bring them home and dump them in the gravel driveway where we proceed over the next several days to run over them with lawn mowers, cars, trucks and four wheelers. This helps to break the green protective husk off of them and allows them to dry out.

Once the husks break away from them and they begin to turn black and dry we pick them up and put them in buckets. Wear gloves to handle them though because that black stains terribly, especially skin and under fingernails.

Once in buckets we then wash them with a wire brush and soapy water in an attempt to get some of the black off of the shells. Then they are spread on an old wire screen in the shed away from the squirrels to dry to then be cracked.

 Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Wow...that's a lot of nuts...reminds me I need to go get chestnuts from our neighbor...thanks for sharing.

  2. How or what do you use to crack the nuts?

  3. That was interesting. I've never seen anyone harvest black walnuts before. We have some them around here, though not in our yard.

  4. You will be enjoy these come the holiday baking season!

  5. This is a fabulous post! Taking to the neighbors about this weird tree in to road dropping these huge green balls, I found out they are black walnuts just growing wild. I didn't really know if I should collect them, because I didn't know what to do with I know thank you! Stopping by from the Barn Hop, lovely to meet you :)

  6. Wow, that is a lot of will not be short for a very long time...would last our family for years.{smile}

  7. YUM! I love this blog! I am always looking for free sources of nuts!

  8. I was able to get some Black Walnuts and used them to dye wool to spin. I made a beautiful Dark Brown Sweater with the of my treasures.

  9. We have some trees too but I've never harvested them. I'll have to look into that. I hear a good black walnut cake is very good.

  10. Great minds think alike! We went and gathered some black walnuts yesterday. I only got two buckets but would like to get more. Our neighbor's trees didn't do anything this year (weird).

    And you can come check out the ditches by me any ol' time! lol I'll have the tea kettle ready and we can sit down for tea and a visit.

  11. Hi,
    Thats very interesting. I always wondered if they were edible as a neighbor has a tree and they are scattered everywhere. Thanks for the info.
    Please stop by for a visit soon.

  12. Thank you for sharing this at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

  13. I have two buckets of these in my backyard right now. My husband used them for a natural dye that he uses with leatherworking and woodworking. I have access to lots more and know I know how to get them to open! Thanks!


Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails