Saturday, March 10, 2012

Shelling Black Walnuts

I've learned a number of things about removing black walnut nutmeats from their shells today.

  1. Wire cutters are awesome. I watched a YouTube video of someone processing black walnuts, and he used wire cutters to precisely fracture his walnuts after he split them with a vice. When I found another forager using the same method, I figured it would be worth the bother of finding a pair in our haphazardly piled tools in the basement. Was it ever? It took a minute to get the hang of how to hold the shell so that pieces didn't pop everywhere, but it sure beat digging out crumbs with the nutpick.

  2. Swing gently, Grasshopper. Too much food is lost and wasted if the nutmeats are crushed when you break them with the hammer or mallet. My new objective during the cracking stage will be to just split the nuts open. I'll do the rest of the work with other tools.

  3. Don't rush. We collected these walnuts in October of 2010. After a year and a half, they are still as sweet-smelling as ever. No sign of rancidity. This is convenient if black walnuts do actually only produce nuts in quantity every other year as I have been told. This makes sense. Most nut-bearing trees evolved a mast year cycle so that they don't loose too many nuts to squirrels and other woodland creatures like yours truly.

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