Harvesting Black Walnuts

The black walnut tree – the tree that blocks sunlight from my vegetable garden and dumps juglone into the soil – has been dropping walnuts.

Black walnuts are notoriously difficult to get out of the shell – unlike English walnuts. But, I figured it was worth a shot to try to collect the walnuts.

Husking them is pretty easy. I smash them gently with a hammer and that generally gets the green-black husk off.

The only problem with this part is that the husk can stain your fingers brown, so wear gloves. Or just deal with having brown fingers for a while.

I wash the nuts and let them dry.

When washing the nuts, I notice which ones float in the water and which ones sink. The floaters are no good. Their nut meat is shriveled up inside, so I discard those.

The really tricky part getting the shells open. The shells are super tough. There is a device you can buy for $129 to crack these nuts, but I don’t really want to spend that kind of money on this endeavor just yet. I found the easiest way to open the walnuts is with this woodworking vice (is that the right name for this thing?)

It splits the shells open nicely. The next trick is getting the pieces of nut out of the shell. It’s hard to get out big pieces.

If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears.

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