greg mosser wrote:for wild nuts, frequently 80-85% is shell.’
Mathew Trotter wrote:I tried a hammer and kept ending up with little bits of shell fragment clinging to the nut meat and ending up in my mouth.
We don't have a vise, but we do have vice grips, and yesterday morning I discovered that they do a much more satisfactory job than the hammer. Clamp a walnut in the grips and then use a pair of pliers to give you leverage to tighten them until the nut pops. The vice grips pop right open (which might be an advantage over a standard vise) and the nut meat remains relatively whole. Repeat as necessary to open up all the chambers inside the shell.
It's certainly a bit more fiddly than a hammer, but I don't end up tossing most of the nut to the chickens like I otherwise would.
Jordan Holland wrote:A common way to remove the husk is simply drilling a hole in a board and knocking it through with a hammer. I remember my grandparents had an area of their driveway that permanently had husk remnants there from where they placed them to run over.
Jordan Holland wrote:
The husks were once used as a laxative, but I am unaware of the dosage. Many people seem to be concerned with the juglone from walnuts harming other plants, so disposal of the husks may need thought. I've never noticed any effect myself. They say that if nuts are left in the husk until they are brown they can absorb some of the bitterness, but I've never noticed that, either.
Jordan Holland wrote:
Something beneficial for shelling many nuts is to crack all the nuts at once and let them dry for several days. When the meat dries it becomes tougher and shrinks, buth good traits for extracting them from cantankerous shells.
Mark Reed wrote:
Ha, didn't say it was easy. I've just had a lot of practice. The nut has to be oriented correctly to receive the blow, pointed end up and the correct force has to be used. If done correctly it splits on the seam, or I guess that's what you'd call it, the same way it splits when it sprouts. Also there should be some secondary cracks in the halves. Individual halves can also be tapped lightly in the same orientation. From there you pick it apart and get up to four nice clean chunks. Any that protest as in crushing or shattering are just discarded as are any little bits stuck in the unfractured pieces of the shell. As a kid my mother had a zero tolerance policy on bits of shell in the nuts and I still do. It's not a perfect science but still I have probably an 80% success rate on getting it right. I just toss the other 20. Like I said we have always had a LOT of walnuts, so no worry over waste.
Mathew Trotter wrote:[
Once I have nuts growing here I'm sure I'll get plenty of practice with a hammer. Or I'll invest in one of these bad boys.
But, like Jan, I'm wondering if maybe this is one instance where working with natives, if they aren't already present on the site, just isn't worth it. They're worth it right now because they're available and I need whatever food I can get. But if I plant something, it may be English walnuts. Or they may make up a small portion of my diet once I have other options.
Mark Reed wrote:Planting nut trees is certainly a long term project but in my climate black walnuts are the fastest of the natives to start producing. Mine started putting on a few at maybe 7 - 8 years old and now at about 20 or so, are producing nicely. It's nice having my own in the yard rather than having to drive or hike to collect them. Also mine are the best of the best from the area and I'm especially glad that I planted some from my favorite tree as it's owners, for reasons unexplained, cut it down a few years ago.
If I wanted to process a lot at a time I might want one of those fancy gadgets but they keep just fine just left in the shell outside as long as protected from critters so just for our use it's fun to grab a hammer and crack them as needed.
I think English walnuts don't grow all that well here and I don't like them much anyway, only thing they got going on is the easy opening packages. Pecans are great though, will they grow in your area?
greg mosser wrote:a well-cured black walnut has a sweeter, slightly fruity (i’ve heard people say ‘that tastes like black cherry!’), aromatic and slightly floral flavor. i’ve never found an ‘english’ walnut that came close. i’m not particularly a fan of english walnuts, but black walnuts are a whole ‘nother thing. fresh, uncured black walnuts taste, to me, something like a not-super-sweet sweet corn.
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