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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Black Walnuts - Yummy

The West Virginia Black Walnut Festival will be held in Spencer, Oct 14th - 17th. Go here to read all about it. The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall will be there this year.

It's that time of year again, time for harvesting black walnuts. I've always heard that they start to fall from the tree after the first frost. Well, we've have several frosts and the black walnuts are on the ground.

We went to a friend's house and picked a bunch of black walnuts.

A lot of people don't like messing with them. But, they are worth all the effort. My son cut a hole about 1 3/8" to hit the walnuts through.

Be sure and wear gloves! I sure and wear gloves!

Black walnuts stain just about everything they come in contact with. If you get the stain on you, it will take a while for it to wear off.

You need to get the hulls or husks (whatever you happen to call them) off pretty soon after you pick the nuts off of the ground. If you are squeamish, you might not like this job. Worms are inside a lot of the husks of the black walnuts. They are the larvae of the husk fly. This is normal. If you have a lot of nuts, you just need to get used to the sight of them.

Lay them out to dry. A couple of nice days is all it takes. Then have someone pick them up and store them in baskets or bags until you are ready to crack them and get out the delicious nuts.

I read somewhere that black walnut shells are one of the hardest organic substances known. If you have ever cracked black walnuts, you will agree with this statement.

I am going to wait a few more weeks before I begin to crack them. I will then put them in Ziploc bags and store them in the freezer.

I LOVE black walnuts. I put them in cookies, fudge, brownies, cakes, breads, etc. They have a stronger flavor than English walnuts. They are very good.

I found this cookbook at a yard sale or thrift store a few years ago. It is the W. Va. Black Walnut Festival Award Winning Recipes for the years 1955-1984.

Along with providing us with great tasting nuts, the wood of the walnut tree is beautiful. My son made this small bowl and vase from black walnut wood.

He also turned this beautiful bowl from the trunk of a walnut tree.

Do you like black walnuts?


  1. Hey Janet!

    That's a lot of walnuts you have there! We have a couple of walnut trees around our house. I've never harvested them before. I always just let the critters have them. I've been thinking that this year will be the year that I try to harvest a few just to see what they taste like. I've seen where John Marra has said something like putting them in water and if they float they are either good or bad. Can't remember which. Do you do that?

    Have a Great Week!

  2. Hi Angela, I think if they float, they are bad. I've never did it before, usually most of them are okay. You should try them, they are really good.

  3. So Janet, you don't have to dry them for a year before you crack and eat them? I always though you did-this is much better. I have two BW trees and would like to try this.

  4. YUM!!! We have one tree but it hasn't gotten any nuts for a few yrs. now:( That looks like a great book too:)

  5. Looks like a lot of hard work, but anything good is worth the effort. The walnut vase and bowls are very lovely, your son did a good job on them. Have a great week!

  6. Your son is very talented! Those are some nice pieces of art. I like to collect old cookbooks, like the one in your picture. I bet it has some great recipes.
    Have fun at the festival!

  7. When I was a girl in northern Wisconsin, we had a black walnut tree in our yard. They were yummy. And I remember many a stained hand gotten while trying to HARVEST those nuts out of their "fruit."

  8. I have never been to the Black Walnut Festival and it wasn't far from me. I is a shame. I would love to go though. Maybe next year.
    I have several black walnut trees here on the farm and I LOVE black walnuts.
    I'm curious as to how YOU get the hulls off.
    My father-in-law says to leave them in the driveway and let the car tires remove them. LOL

  9. A couple of the kids at work tried to crack open some walnuts, I could tell by the black stains on their hands. They told me they had them on their driveway and were trying to crack them open with bricks! LoL You are so right about needing to wear gloves.

  10. My husband has told me that they used to lay the walnuts on the driveway and drive the cars over them to crack the hull. I have a dresser, that my father-in-law made for me, out of black walnut.

  11. Yes I love them too! And I've been doing the same thing you have : ) Neat little contraption to get the hull off.

    The cookbook is really neat.

  12. Hello, I just had to become a follower. I live in Wayne County. And I have attended the blackwalnut festival but not for many years. I will read back and enjoy every bit you have to offer.


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