Besides eating the nuts, dye can be made from the husks (if that's your thing), the husks can also be composted. Composting destroys the juglone (general consensus).
Taste, well, I've had some taste great, then some years couldn't find a one, off the same tree, worth a darn. No rhyme or reason why either. It's getting that time of year the walnut on my property line is starting to drop nuts.
Will Holland wrote:I've got a couple or black walnuts and frequently don't do anything with the nuts. They're a pain to process and the last time we had a good crop of them, we must have prcessed em wrong cuz they tasted awful. Has anyone had success actuslly utilizing black walnuts?
Take an early sample. It will be quickly apparent if they merit the time/labor to process.
If they aren't worth the time, give the whole batch to the pigs/chickens.
(Livestock hasn't been educated to minimum wage laws...yet.)
For processing, I think we stomped the hulls off, then tried to let them dry in the Shell. I suspect the nuts went rancid before we ate them.
One method I have heard of to remove the hulls is to use a paint mixer on the end of a drill. Place walnuts in a bucket about 1/4 to 1/3 full and cover with water, mix with paint mixer. The hulls should float up pour off hulls and excess water then dry the walnuts.
I think this year I will crack by hand with a bench vice but I would love to have an assisted way of doing it like in this video.
If any one has suggestions for cracking the nuts in a large volume of quickly let me know.
It's been awhile since I've collected mass quantities, but I remember as a kid every couple years we'd fill up 2-3 55 gallon drums with husked nuts...a fair amount to say the least.
We grab them a couple of times a day using one of those roller devices. Then one smack with a hammer usually splits the still-green hull, which we then brush off with gloved hands into a small trailer, to be dumped near hugelkultur locations and exposed to the elements until ready for use the following year. The shell gets dropped into a bucket of water at once - to slow oxidation and to deter theft by squirrels
Every couple of days we use plastic netting and hang batches of shells from a tree branch and use a power washer to further clean them. First in a batch hanging, then, perhaps 10–15 seconds by gloved hand for each nut, to get them really clean. Then off to dry inside the house, where the squirrels aren't.
We have in mind a local consumer in-shell market once this production process is proven. We are even having individual buckets for individual trees, because we think there may be a market for branding the products as from a specific tree, perhaps even a named tree. One of my trees produces green fruit larger than tennis balls, with nuts two inches across.
This process produces gorgeous nuts with all their ruggedness and sharpness intact. I am experimenting with spraying them lightly with oil to further bring out the gorgeous colors in the shells.
As a test, I focused this afternoon on a tree I call Eleanor, which has a high kernel-to-shell ratio, collecting 640 mostly green-hulled nuts under that one tree (partly, it wasn't mowed, so I could not get all of them). My estimate is there were probably 1,000 on the ground and still green, and it had been dropping plenty for several weeks before. This was its last gasp of the season, they were dropping all around me.
Terry Paul Calhoun wrote:I'm full on, processing black walnuts for the first time this year, ...
Here are the results of four hours of work: