I am amazed at how many walnuts there are this year, I have two black walnut trees near my house and never before have seen so many walnuts on the ground. So, this year I decided to pick them up and try my best to figure out how to save a few and get the wonderful sweet nut meats out for future use in baking. Someone said that alot of nuts on the ground means we will have a hard winter, but I like to think it is because we had a hot dry summer and the trees have been stressed therefore they are trying to procreate to preserve them selves
This has to be a lost art because this is not an easy thing to under take, first you have to gather all the nuts off the ground, and the first day I did this I failed to wear gloves. I found my hands almost permanently stained a baby poop color that took days to wear off. My finger nails looked like I was one of those people who coconstantly have a cigarette in their hands and the smoke stains embedded in their skin. Anyway, I now double glove when I even start to think about gathering them up.
After you get the hull off( I step on them in my drive way) with very old shoes so as not to ruin any good ones. Now here is where you have touch the nuts to pick them up and get them into a container to rinse off any of the left on hull, I let them soak for a few minutes, then lay them all out in a dry place for about 2-3 weeks. I put mine in my little red barn that I keep all my garden tools in.. I made the mistake of leaving the first patch of 48 nuts out on my cement patio to dry and the next day they were all gone.
My little squirrel and chipmunk friends had an easy cache, I didn't do that again either because this is just to much work to give them away to the critters.
You see in the first picture my first attempts at cracking these very tough nuts, I have discovered that if you hit each nut just the right way they crack pretty easy but getting the nut meat out isn't so easy, I spent about an hour and got what you seen in the jar. I think there is about a 1/4 cup in there.
I have no idea if there is an easier way to do this but I am determined to work diligently until I have every last nut cracked. I only have about two dozen cracked so far and have over 100 to go. But, if you like black walnuts, these have the best taste and will add such sweetness to breads, muffins, cakes and anything else I can conjure up to put them in.
Next I will have to ask if anyone out there has any good recipes that I could use these little gems in, and if you do please let me know. All of this to say I have really enjoyed gathering, hulling, cleaning and cracking and picking out the nut meats, it reminds me of when I was very small and my grandfather would do this very process for my grandmother to use in her baking. I have very precious memories of my grandparents.
Another thing all this work makes me think of is, the perseverance that our Lord pursues us with, & we are some very hard nuts to gather, wash clean, and crack before we become a sweet fragrance for our God and it is a long on going process, but He never gives up on us. Makes me thankful for these lovely walnuts even more...