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Harvesting Walnuts

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
We have a Black Walnut tree and in the past I've always left the walnuts for the squirrels, but this year, I want to harvest them for my own use. They're starting to fall from the tree now, but the hulls are still green. Yesterday, I smashed one open with a hammer, and found what may have been a very unripe walnut. (And I stained my hands brown ) Dd's kindergarten class harvested walnuts last year, but they gathered them in October after they'd been lying on the ground for months and the hulls were brown and rotted. The teacher ran over them with her car to get the hulls off, the kids cracked the shells, and the class made lots of walnut bread.

So, my question is, are you supposed to just leave them on the ground until they ripen, or can you gather them and keep them in a squirrel free spot until they ripen? Does a brown hull mean the walnut is ripe? I can't just leave ours lying around because they get stuck in the lawn mower and drive me crazy. What's the best way to get them out of the hull?

And while we're on the subject, why did my last year's walnut crop have sharp spines all over the hulls? This year and in previous years, they were smooth. Can anyone explain this aberration?
post #2 of 3
Being south, we do not have walnuts instead we have thier first cousin the pecan. A much softer, gentler nut.


Anyway I remember the walnuts from my Kentucky childhood, you can pick them up and store them out of squirrels way till they are ready to be hulled. IF I recall correctly, they will get to a point where the hulls will fall off easily. Once they turn brown and kind of dry out.

A more seasoned Northerner should take a crack at this question tho cause it has been a long while since i have dealt with walnuts.

Ohh and if you have some basil left in the garden, dont forget pesto with fresh walnuts and basil. YUM!!!! and so good for you too!
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, Chanley. I asked one of my local friends about this and all she could add was that she knew people who would build a big bonfire and put all their walnuts into it to roast them. I don't think that step is necessary however. And I don't think I could have a big bonfire here in the middle of a city, especially with this water emergency we're having. Anyway, I'll keep collecting them and see what happens.

Oh, and I'll definitely make some pesto with them. We have some basil growing. Hopefully, the basil won't be killed by frost before the walnuts are ripe!
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