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English walnut ripeness?  RSS feed

 
Allison Gessner
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I have a few English walnut trees dropping nuts. I read online that they skin of the nutmeat should be brown when ripe, but these are light compared to store-bought. I'm wondering if I should harvest now since so many are falling already, or should I wait until the skin is a darker color? They don't taste good yet, but maybe they will after drying? TIA
 
Ken W Wilson
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Are they ripe enough that the hulls open up a little on their own?

I don't think the skin has to be dark.

I think they probably need to dry down a little before you shell them, but you can probably hull them now.

May harvests have been extremely small so far, so I'm not an expert.  My Lake has been blooming for years, the seedling pollinator I planted has not had a single bloom, getting frost damage too.

Mine taste great after the hulls start to open and peel off easily. Not very dark. I've only eaten a few though. I'm planting them.
 
David Livingston
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I collect about 40lb of walnuts each year and usually wait a couple of months before eating them as at first they are a bit bitter . Here in France folks usually say wait until christmas . When first they fall they can be quite pale inside.

David 
 
Ryan Crafter
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Hey David,  I once lived in the heart of Northern California's walnut country.  English walnuts will fall from the hull to the ground, where as, black walnuts will retain their hull and are difficult to separate the hull and crack the shell.  Fair warning... Start your harvest early where squirrels and jays are present or they're likely to do the entire harvest for you! The large companies collect English walnuts pretty early, while only 7-10% have naturally fallen off the tree.  They use heavy machinery to shake the trees till most of the nuts fall off.  They also have machinery that separates the hulls, as some of the hulls stay attached to the semipremature walnuts.  I tend to wait for them to drop 20 - 30% and use a long piece of pvc or a stick with a crutch to shake individual branches till the nuts fall down.  Get creative!  Also, you can get a nut roller if you'll be doing a lot of collecting. A leaf rake works pretty well too..  They are both great and save the back!   Walnuts are much more palatable once dried!  Around here I just sun dry them for a week on screens or on the ground... anywhere in full sun... be sure critters can't get at them and don't forget about them if it's going to rain!  On the off chance that it's not feasible to dry them outdoors, I keep them in old perforated onion sacks, burlap, cardboard boxes, baskets... anything breathable, at a safe distance from my wood stove or in the driest critter free location in my home.  The trick is to dry not cook them!  Stir them every few days for the first week or two.  Check them often by cracking one open to see if the nut skin is crunchy.  Once they are dried I put them in plastic 55 gallon buckets and shell them as needed.  I've seen under dried walnuts but, I've never seen an over dried walnut... I'm sure it's possible.  They're best after about a month after they're dry.  Great timing for a fancy thanksgiving treat.
Good luck and happy harvest!
 
Allison Gessner
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Thanks, y'all! Very helpful responses. These nuts are falling with the husk still on, so according to @Ryan Crafter these may be black walnuts instead of English. IDK, but per Ryan's suggestion I am going to pick up a nut roller to help with collecting. And they're actually edible now, if I roast them first.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Are the shells very rough and black? Are they hard to crack. Carpathians/English walnuts are fairly smooth, brown, and easy to shell.
 
Allison Gessner
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Ken W Wilson wrote:Are the shells very rough and black? Are they hard to crack. Carpathians/English walnuts are fairly smooth, brown, and easy to shell.

The shells are tan colored and sort of wrinkly. They look like regular walnuts. They are not too hard to shell. More difficult than a paper-shell pecan, but easier than a Brazil nut. What do you think? Does it sound like English or black?
 
Ken W Wilson
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English.

My English walnuts fall with the hull mostly attached and green. The hull is fairly dry and gets drier. Black walnuts fall while green and completely covered by hull. It turns to a black mush before it starts drying.
 
Jese Anderson
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They way most of us in the "sticks" process our walnuts is to lay them in a gravel part of the driveway for a few months.  Automobiles driving over them will get rid of the husk.  In a few months you will find the intact shell there waiting to be picked up and cracked open....I don't advise this if you have a bunch of squirrels.

 
 
David Livingston
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My Walnuts are definitely what those across the pond would call English but it I think would be more accurate to call Persian  can fall as either brown dark or light depending on how damp they are  , covered in a green skin or black skin when the green has dried out . They are quite easy to crack open , usually you can do it with your hand .
As for squirrels my solution is to make such I collect the nuts every day sometimes twice a day even three times a day if there is a gale  , keep the grass under the tree quite short and if I think that I am loosing lots of nuts to squirrels borrow a dog and a long lead . Dog is very happy squirrels not so much .

David
 
Ken W Wilson
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I wouldn't drive over the English walnuts. They aren't hard enough. 

It does work well for black walnuts.
 
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