when to pick black walnuts? how do you make them edible?


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there are a couple trees in my yard, but i've never messed with them and just left them for the squirels. mostly because i don't know anything about when they'd be good. they're falling off the trees still green, and over late fall/winter i come across black ones the squirels haven't found or got to yet.

plus beyond picking them, do you have to roast them or something, like chestnuts? thanks.
 
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there are a couple trees in my yard, but i've never messed with them and just left them for the squirels. mostly because i don't know anything about when they'd be good. they're falling off the trees still green, and over late fall/winter i come across black ones the squirels haven't found or got to yet.

plus beyond picking them, do you have to roast them or something, like chestnuts? thanks.
Walnuts are ready to harvest when they have fallen to the ground and have turned a yellowish color. The husk does not normally open up like a pecan so getting the shell out of the husk is a major PITA. Use your thumbnail and depress you finger nail into the skin. If it doesn't depress leave it alone for a few days. When you can leave an impression in the skin you can use a sharp knife to cut thru the husk and peel most of it away. Let them dry a day or to and then take them to a carwash and pressure wash the debris away from the shell. Let them dry for a few more days and then you can attempt to crack the shell. I guess the easiest way to do this is to jack your car up, put a bunch of them into a large container and then lower the wheel onto the nuts or you can use a vise. If you try the old hammer on cement method you will be chasing the nuts all over your yard. And then when you finally get one cracked open it may or may not be full of meat. I gave up on walnuts decades ago and now stick with pecans. You do not have to roast them. They are just pecans in that you can eat them right out of the shell but they are better if you let them stay in the husk awhile before shelling
 
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there are a couple trees in my yard, but i've never messed with them and just left them for the squirels. mostly because i don't know anything about when they'd be good. they're falling off the trees still green, and over late fall/winter i come across black ones the squirels haven't found or got to yet.

plus beyond picking them, do you have to roast them or something, like chestnuts? thanks.
The nuts are ready to harvest when thy fall off the tree. The nut is in the green ball and is almost impossible to crack in quantity. Juglans nigra is the one I am referring to.


http://www.durgan.org/URL/?EVDMA 12 October 2011 Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
About 3000 Black Walnut(Juglans nigra)were picked from three trees along country roads. Few people utilize these wonderful tasting, nutritious nuts due to the effort in processing. There are many black walnut trees in my area. There is 500 to a 1000 nuts on each tree depending upon the age of the tree. The nuts fall off the tree when ripe. It is simple matter of picking them off he ground. It takes several weeks before they start to deteriorate.

Removing the hull is almost effortless with one smack from a rubber hammer on a block of wood. The nuts are then power washed to remove any remnants of the hulls.The liquid has a chemical called juglone, which stains and immediately kills earthworms and inhibits the growth of many plants, and should not be disposed of in the garden area. I put all liquid down the storm sewer.

Cracking fresh un-dried nuts is almost impossible using typical means. Hand compression tools take too much strength and simply crush the meat, when and if the nut breaks. Un-dried nuts are very tasty and the effort to crack is probably worthwhile.

My method is to utilize two pulleys with a heavy hammer, to limit bouncing, which is relatively successful. However this method works very well with nuts that have been dried in the Sun for about 4 days. I have in the past extracted whole segments. The nut is the most difficult one can encounter.

The meat is held in place with an internal structure in four quadrants around the nut. Seldom is the meat extracted whole. There is some babble on the internet about using a vice, but it is a failure along with being almost impracticable. Squirrels do not crack the nut. They gnaw each quadrant and dig out the meat, and leave the nut essentially intact.

The meat is wholesome, very pleasant tasting, and about 20 make an adequate meal. I consider the processing to be worthwhile.

 
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http://www.durgan.org/URL/?MDAEX 14 October 2011 Drying Black Walnuts (Juglans nigra)

The processed walnuts are being dried in the greenhouse. Squirrels are constant threat to the stock. When and if the Sun comes out the racks will be placed outdoors, along with the dog, Ginny. Total time including picking about 20 hours labor.
 
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http://www.durgan.org/URL/?UMXBW 24 October 2011 Cracking Black Walnuts(Juglans nigra)

The Black Walnuts(Juglans nigra)is avoided by most people due to the effort required to crack, and obtain the meat. The meat is enveloped in a structure, with small ribs or folds over the meat. Even when the meat is exposed, the ribs hold the meat, unless this is broken. The meat is in four quadrants around the longitudinal axes of the nut.

Presented is tool combination, that successfully cracks the nut almost completely, and exposed the meat, which is readily collected.

A heavy wooden block, smaller inner pulley which supports the shoulder, sharp or pointed end down,of the nut. The outer pulley limits travel of the hammer, and prevents crushing of the meat. A heavy hammer is necessary to prevent bouncing when smacking the nut. The nut rib structure is broken and the meat separates from the four quadrants of the nut. Collection is almost complete, simply by picking up the meat pieces.

The nuts must be slightly dry. The one in this demonstration have been dried for five days. Happy nutting.
 
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ok, thanks to you both. i'll fight with the squirels and gather some up.

going by what y'all are saying, i may try a nut splitter if i can find one big/cheap enough at harbor freight. or try and make something similar.
 
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We had several walnut trees!

We picked them up off of the grass and removed the husk by stomping on them. The guys were no good at nut-stomping: Us girls could put the nuts in the driveway and stomp on half of the nut and he shelled nut would squirt out the other side, but the guys would break them. Then we would spread the nuts out in the garage to dry. Around Christmas time the nuts would be dry enough to use: green nuts are kind of bitter.

The green husks over the nut will stain everything, including fingers and the bottoms of your shoes. Sometimes they use them to make furniture polish
 
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Gee, I didn't know that it takes a lot of work to clean the walnut. We have that here during the Christmas season and that's one of my husband's favorite nuts. When he was in California, he was wishing to see a walnut tree but unfortunately failed. And I didn't know that it has a husk. All along I thought the walnut is like that, the shell is clinging to the branches, hahahaaa.
 

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