And no, I’m not talking about my family (could be, but I’m not). This year, our two black walnut trees have produced a bumper-bumper crop. This, after two years of worrisome sparse production. Look how many have yet to fall!
Don’t you love their spicy scent? For me, a buoyant appreciation for the trees is somewhat corrective. Without even really knowing it, I generally direct a muted ire their way. Why? Because their roots emit a toxin that kills a remarkable number of shrubs and perennials — even hardy natives. I won’t enumerate the losses, but suffice it to say, that if my efforts over the years had thrived the street corner’d be better screened (a view rendered even more naked by the recent felling of my neighbor’s four dead hemlocks).
Initially, I used the squirrel-smashing rock to roll the nuts free of their hulls. But since I squatted in view of a driveway full of already smashed hulls, I gathered those. The popping sound of nuts under moving vehicles is a distinctive fall sound around here. This year, I’m determined to serve a bowl of the nuts at Christmas. Never have. There will be washing, air drying, and stowing involved and then it appears, a fair amount of work to reveal the meat. It’s an awful lot of labor for a mouthful of nut, isn’t it? So far, using the hose on “jet spray” to rinse the nuts is the most wasteful part of the process. I might add a soak prior to cleaning to see if it abbreviates rinsing.
The improvised drying rack might better be called “Squirrel Buffet”!
We are enjoying yet another incredibly beautiful fall day here in New England. I hope you all have wonderful weekends!
will you be dyeing cloth and making ink with the hulls? weondering how walnut harvests were cleaned before jet sprays were invented ?
I am dyeing cloth. Re: cleaning. I think a little drying and a stiff brush might work well.
Toxic roots and hemlocks??? What kind of neighbourhood is this??? Ha, ha!!!
Yeah, funny. All we need is some digitalis and deadly nightshade!
Know these well from my Massachusetts friend. They use them for christmas cookies, delicious and mighty labor intensive but a bumper crop keeps for years in a warm dry place.
What a nice idea — a nut centered in a buttery cookie!
a squirrel buffet indeed. i love the spicy smell.
It’s so tangy and I can’t think of any way to describe it except as spicy. The squirrels only took two from that first batch. Not bad.
We used to go to my great uncle’s farm every fall and pick up loads of black walnuts. When we got them home my dad would spread them out on the walk beside the house and when they got all black my mom would go out and “stomp walnuts.” We would don dish gloves and help remove the rest of the shell. Then they went into the garage to be cracked (dad mounted a nut cracker to a base) and we’d pick black walnuts all winter long. I’ll never pick another black walnut for the rest of my life. I do want to make some walnut dye though. 🙂 I have a photo somewhere of my mom standing on the walnuts with her gloved hands spread out – fond memories.
I was out there stomping this morning! Yellow dish gloves on. And I get not wanting to do it ever again. It’s a lot of work. If you lived near I’d share hulls for dyeing with you. You’re not near Boston are you?
I’m nowhere near Boston, but I have plenty of shells from the walnuts that fall from our neighbor’s tree. I can picture you stomping, and I see your gloves – just like Mom!
well, happy dyeing, then!!