Archive for Black Walnuts

Black Walnuts Part 2: Cracking and Storing

Charlo is ever hopeful of a tidbit.  Here you can see the heavy duty nutcracker.

Charlo is ever hopeful of a tidbit. Here you can see the heavy duty nutcracker.

I went through cleaning the Black Walnuts in a post in the March 2013 Archives but I had to wait until now when we are doing this stage, so I could have pictures of cracking and storing them.  The walnuts are first spread out to dry completely.  We spread them on newspaper in front of a sunny window.

These have been drying for several days and are ready to be cracked.  This is about enough for a quart of nutmeats.

These have been drying for several days and are ready to be cracked. This is about enough for a quart of nutmeats.

After about a week, you can begin cracking them.  We used to use a hammer, placing the nut on a rock that had a depression to hold it and banging away at it until it shattered.  Goggles were required for this as the sharp shell fragments scatter all over.  I had an acquaintance who owned a Hican (Hickory/Pecan cross) farm in Kansas and he told me about a heavy duty nutcracker that they use on the farm.  After purchasing that, it was much easier to access the delicious nutmeats.  These heavy duty nutcrackers can be found on line.

There's more shell to nut ratio than with typical English Walnuts but the flavor is much more intense.

There’s more shell to nut ratio than with typical English Walnuts but the flavor is much more intense.

My husband cracks them and I pick out the nutmeats.  I fill quart plastic containers with the raw nutmeats and keep them in the freezer.  I have tried roasting them before freezing them but have found that it is better to store them raw and to roast them right before you use them. They deteriorate faster if roasted before freezing.  I do recommend roasting or toasting them before eating as it takes away a certain bitterness that is characteristic of the nuts.

Apple Crisp with Maple Whipped Cream and Toasted Black Walnuts

Apple Crisp with Maple Whipped Cream and Toasted Black Walnuts

We use them for salads (kale, Waldorf, beet with toasted chevre and pear with Gorgonzola), also in fudge, my husband’s ancient southern family fruitcake recipe and as a topping for desserts.  If we had a way to grind up the shells, one of the boys tells us they are excellent for  sandblasting as they are natural and don’t need to be cleaned up since they biodegrade.

One quart of nutmeats and a large pile of shells, the result of a couple of hours work.

One quart of nutmeats and a large pile of shells, the result of a couple of hours work.

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