Tuesday, October 20, 2009

how to harvest walnuts

there is such a disconnect between food and its source, and in a lot of ways, i am no exception to this. growing up in berkeley, we had a small vegetable garden plus a lemon tree, a lime tree, peach trees, apple trees, an orange tree across the street, a pomegranite tree in katherine's yard, cherry trees and one of the neighbor's even had a meyer's lemon bush that was kind of awesome. we had organic plantings throughout the hood and plum trees lined the streets. heading to santa cruz to run the boardwalk, we would pass miles and miles of strawberry patches, artichoke plots, and avocado trees. during a trip to visit the tide pools in halfmoon bay, we would also pick pumpkins. if i travelled up to the sierra-nevada foothills to visit grandma, we passed through apricot and peach orchards, olive fields, hops fields for the beer companies and mile after mile of nuts: we always stopped at the nut house to pick up some freshly picked walnuts. now that i live in the mid-atlantic, i grow a few things, do buy from my favorite farmer, but tend to spend most of my time harvesting at whole foods. as i ran with the dog yesterday in rock creek park, a large black walnut fell from a tree, narrowly missing my head and causing me to have a nutty ephifany: hey, that was food that almost just knocked me out! looking around, black walnuts are every where right now, especially on the ground. why let them collect in bunches and clog storm drains when they are one of my favorite foods? so, i collected a bunch and went to the internet to figure out how i could harvest black walnuts. google-ing "how to harvest walnuts" resulted in a lot of info, but after watching a few videos and reading a bunch of articles, i think this is the one i like the best: basically, you collect the nuts, run over them with a car; collect the shelled nutmeats, and let them dry in the sun (hello, squirrels!) for a week; crack em and either eat or store in an air tight container: simple! one side note: dont compost the outer green/black hulls because they are toxic to most other plants.


  1. allelopathic -- one of my fav big words.

    Ehen I was a child, we had black walnuts. We cracked them with a hammer. Daddy sharpened a horseshoe nail to a fine point and we used it as a nutpick.

    Nell Jean - seedscatterer

  2. Black Walnuts yummy !! Hope you enjoy them. hugs, Cherry