Harvesting and curing black walnut

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Black walnuts are ready to be harvested when the hull can be dented with
your thumb. You can also wait until the nuts start falling from the
tree. Either way it is important to hull walnuts soon after harvest. If
not removed, the hull will leach a stain through the nut and into the
meat. The stain will not only discolor the meats but also give them an
off flavor.
There are several ways to hull walnuts including running them through a
corn sheller or pounding each nut through a hole in a board. The hole
must be big enough for the nut but smaller than the hull. An easier way
is to run over the nuts with a lawn tractor. This will break the hull
but not crack the nut.
Note that walnut hulls contain a dye that will stain concrete, your
hands or about anything else it touches. Wear gloves as the stain is
almost impossible to remove. Wash hulled nuts by spreading them out on
the lawn or on a wire mesh and spraying them with water or placing them
in a tub of water. If you place them in a tub, the good nuts should
sink. Those that float are probably not well-filled with kernels. Next,
dry the nuts by spreading them in layers no more than three deep in a
cool, shady and dry place such as a garage or tool shed. Drying normally
takes two weeks.

 

By: Ward Upham

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