Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out?? | Taste of Home Community  
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Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

Last post Mar 08, 2009 2:32 PM by lemmonhead . 15 replies.


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  • Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    We have a large Black Walnut in our yard and my son has some more of them.  I would like to pick them up and fix ready to crack and pick out this winter.  I know you have to remove the green or yellow outer shell but how do you do yours.  I have a concrete block and a hammer preparing to do it that way.  I know when I was little they ran over them with the car (but that was with Model A's which are a lot lighter in weight than Autos now days)  Anyway we have too many squirrels to leave them outside as they are already eating them pretty fast but I hope to get a few for myself. I have also read to use an old fashioned corn sheller but I don't have one.  Any other ideas??

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    I don't have a tip on cracking them, but I do know that you should wear rubber or latex gloves.  I had a co-worker do this a couple of years ago and her hands were stained for weeks because she had not worn gloves.

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    My BIL has mentioned running over them or throwing them under the wheels of his truck (I think he jacks up the entire back of his truck just a little bit??) - I'm not sure of the technique.  We brought home a lot of them 1 year & I was going to crack them & use the nut meats.  A friend of mine also used to talk about her fond memories of cracking them...so I brought some for her too.  We got home & between parking the car & starting to empty the trunk....we had 7 squirrels that sensed we had them...3 tried to get in the house...then they hung on the back door frame & kitchen window chattering at us.  My DH, youngest son & I spent a couple of hours peeling off the husks, cracking them & digging out the nuts....after a long time, I had less than an inch in the bottom  of a mayo jar....I decided that was all I wanted & made some banana/nut bread....we all wore gloves but still had stains.  The squirrels got most of them.

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    We run over them with the car..that breaks the 'hulls'. Using rubber gloves remove the hulls & put  in bucket of water...bad walnuts will float. Wash the nuts changing water frequently. Then you have to lay in sun to dry..OR put in a gunny sak & hang..roll the sak around every now & then to let the air in...They need to really dry out. I didn't let mine dry out  & cracked a bunch only to have the nut meats get moldy..You are better off to let hang over the winter atleast...Then we used a hammer & a hunk of railroad track we had..or use an anvil..something sturdy of iron works best. Try putting in a vice & snap them open to start. That works pretty well . No matter how you do it..........it is a slow process!!!!  But Oh so Yummy!!!!!

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    Puff,

    I remember my father doing them like you said but I think he hulled them by hand. Then he hung them in a sack in the basement to dry out. He would crack a few now and again to see if they were dry enough. Then he cracked them with a hammer on a big bar of steel. The cookies and fudge my Mom made with them were outstanding. He cracked and picked quarts of hickory nuts too after they had dried out a bit, just not as long as the black walnuts. He also did butternuts when he could get them. My Mom did afghans at night, he picked out lots of fresh nutmeats.

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    I've always wondered how the squirrels get inside the tough black walnuts!  We had a big bucketful given to us one year and gave up on trying to get the nutmeat out, so we left them for the squirrels.  They had a feast and left the shells on the neighbor's driveway. He could not figure out what these black shell pieces were all over his property....'til he was told about the squirrel feast!

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    Thanks for the suggestions, I did some last weed with the hammer and my glove covered hands, got stains on my fingers and nails anyway and it is still there in spite of clorox.  I think I will try the running over them with car next.  I hope that I don't crack the nuts instead of just hulling them tho.  I really do want to have some of these to pick out.  I didn't know you had to let them dry either so now I have learned something new.  Any more ideas are welcome.  Anna

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    Allspice_Mo

    We have a large Black Walnut in our yard and my son has some more of them.  I would like to pick them up and fix ready to crack and pick out this winter.  I know you have to remove the green or yellow outer shell but how do you do yours.  I have a concrete block and a hammer preparing to do it that way.  I know when I was little they ran over them with the car (but that was with Model A's which are a lot lighter in weight than Autos now days)  Anyway we have too many squirrels to leave them outside as they are already eating them pretty fast but I hope to get a few for myself. I have also read to use an old fashioned corn sheller but I don't have one.  Any other ideas??

    How do you know when walnuts are ready to be picked?
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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    I picked up t trash cans full and I am still working on getting the outer shell off, I get a bag of them when I feel up to it and a concrete block and hammer, there is still some residue from the hulls left so I wash them off then in several changes of water, hosed them off first, I am letting a bunch dry that I have spread out in a flat box lid.  I can't leave them outside or the squirrels get them.  I still have quite a few more that have fell but don't know if I have the fortitude to do anymore.  I just would like to have them to pick out this winter.  DH doesn't think I need anything else to do but I just thought it would be something new and different.  The corn sheller works but I don't know where to find one anymore.  That is what we used when I was young at home.  I think maybe they are classified as antiques not unless they are making a new version. I am not willing to pay a huge antique price tho, may as well buy the walnuts if I have to do that.  I haven't tried the car running over them yet but may have to resort to that.  A lot of mine have already turned black and are very juicy and messy.  I hope I figure out a way to get them ready to crack and pick out so If you come across anymoe hints or tips I am all ears.  Thanks, Anna

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    I have never clean black walnuts myself but I have seen my Dad doing it for years. He wears rubber gloves to protect his hands (I think just to keep them from getting all black) and he just takes a hammer to break them open. He separates the nuts from the shell and then washes the nuts off good with water. Then he places them in a screened cage. The cage is something he built. It is a wooden type frame with screen on the top and bottom. After he has the nuts cleaned, he puts them in the screend cage and lets the cage set outside so the nuts can dry. The screen allows the air to move through the nuts but protects the nuts from the squirrels. He just brings the frame into his shop when it is rainy. He says it takes about two weeks for them to dry and then they are ready to eat. He cleans a batch of them and then my mom freezes them in the quantity she needs to make his favorite black walnut cookies.

    I hope this information is useful to you. Good luck! Seems like a lot of work to me but if you like them as much as he does I guess it is worth it.

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    We had black walnut trees all my life. We just waited until they fell to the ground, raked them up and had the kids stomp the outer hulls off. We left them right where they were until the nuts were fairly dry, then raked them up into another pile.  Where we live the squirrels didn't bother them but if they had, I'm sure the burlap sack would have come into play.  We kids would get a few nuts and two rocks (a brick if you could find one) and crack away. We picked them out with a "bobby pin" (remember when we kept our hair back with bobby pins?)  On a cold day we would find a sunny spot beside the house, out of the wind, and eat away.

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    Ironically I have never been to this website before now and earlier this afternoon I just took pictures of my companion hulling a huge barrel of black walnuts. He sat here yesterday thinking about an alternative way to do it - after years of running over them with the truck. His solution was to use a 2 x 10 about ten to12 fool long and nailed sides (1 x 4) to it and used his tractor to run over them. It worked great and saved a ton of time. I took pictures but I don't know if I can add them here. If that is possible let me know and I'll be glad to post a couple.

     

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  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    a few weeks back in the American Profile  south east edtion, there was an article on a family that operates  the nations largest  walnut cracking company, they buy sell etc

    americanprofile.com

    from personal experience, let the out dhell dry until it is almost powder,  then use your own method of madness to crack them

     google your area for  "nut" companies that cracks/shells for the public like

    Duke Pecan Company in West Point MS Party!!!

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    Bee Poop
  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    My my - what memories!  We used to drive over them too and it was my job to go out and pick them up.  I can remember my fingers hurting from holding the hard shells while picking out the delicious meat.  I'm pretty sure I more than what I put in the bowl.  LOL  I think I would try to find some kind of burlap bag and still drive over them, but then again your concrete & hammer may have to do.  This of the $$$$$ you're saving by having your own!  Let me know what you come up with.  Smile

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    Cathy "What Contemptible Scoundrel Stole The Cork From My Lunch" --- W.C. Fields
  • Re: Preparing Black Walnuts to shell and pick out??

    When walnuts are ready, they fall from the tree. However , one year, my son climbed the trees and shook the branches to make more fall. Scared me to death-but you know how 17 year old young men can be. We've always put them in the (gravel or grass) driveway and run over them as we'd come and go. It cleans the hull off great! You don't have to worry about crushing them. I use a hammer on concrete for that. To keep squirrels out try laying chicken wire or rabbit cage flooring over them and secure at sides (haven't tried it -it's just a thought- It might slow them down anyway)  By the way-try to avoid walking on them until they are pretty well clean. They will stain the bottoms of your shoes, and therefore possibly your carpet as well. Also---I've known older folks to use unhulled walnuts to color Easter Eggs! Not sure how, boil some with the eggs? Good Luck!

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