How to Dry Black Walnuts

Save

Black walnuts come from the black walnut tree (Juglans nigra), a common tree in the central and southern United States that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Though the trees begin blooming in early spring, nuts aren't harvested until the autumn, which is usually around late September in most locations. To store black walnuts for long-term use, the nuts should be dried in the shell to prevent mold or other unwanted problems before you're ready to use them.

Identifying Ripe Nuts

  • Before harvesting and drying black walnuts, you need to know which nuts are ripe and ready for harvest. The unripe fruit of the black walnut tree is hard and bright green, but the fruit softens and the color shifts to yellow as the fruit ripens. A ripe black walnut fruit can be dented with gentle pressure from your thumbnail and will be mostly if not completely yellow. Fruit that has begun turning brown or black is overripe.

Harvesting Walnuts

  • As black walnuts ripen, they will naturally begin falling from the trees. Some of these fallen nuts may be overripe, however. If you don't want to wait for ripe nuts to fall, you can manually harvest them by either climbing a ladder to pull them from the tree or by shaking limbs to make nuts fall. Being hit by falling nuts can hurt, however, so head protection should be worn by anyone under or around the tree when harvesting nuts that haven't already fallen.

Removing the Husks

  • Remove the fruit husks from the walnuts as soon as possible after harvesting as the husks can discolor the nuts and affect their flavor if left on for too long. Crack the husks with a hammer, stomp them underfoot or place them on a gravel driveway and drive over the nuts slowly with your car, advises Iowa State University. Be careful when handling fresh black walnut husks, as the juice from the husks will stain cloth, skin, and even concrete so wearing gloves is advised. Once the husks are removed, thoroughly wash the nuts to remove hull juice and debris. You can place the nuts into a pail of water to wash them and sort the bad nuts from ones that are good. Filled nuts will sink to the bottom of the bucket and unfilled ones will float on the surface of the water. Throw away the unfilled nuts.

Drying the Nuts

  • Leaving the nuts in their shells, place them in shallow layers on a wire rack or other surface that allows for good airflow to dry. Leave the nuts there for two to three weeks, giving them enough time for any moisture from the hull to evaporate and the natural oils to dry out. Once dried, the nuts will keep within the shells. When you remove the shells, however, the nuts need to be used quickly or placed in a freezer-safe container and frozen to prevent them from turning rancid.

Shelling Black Walnuts

  • Black walnuts are notoriously hard to crack because of how hard their shells are. If you have a pressure nutcracker available, use it instead of a handheld variety. If you don't have a pressure nutcracker, soak the dried nuts in water for one or two hours before attempting to crack them. The shells absorb moisture and become more flexible, making them easier to crack.

References

  • Photo Credit MariaBrzostowska/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • How to Dry English Walnuts

    When you purchase walnuts at the grocery store, you likely have bought English walnuts. Commercial growers avoid raising the native species, black...

  • How to Harvest & Store Walnuts

    Store harvested walnuts in paper or plastic bags, ... So you can shell 'em fresh or you can dry them out in...

  • Methods for Drying Walnut Lumber

    Dry black walnut powder can contain the nut's shell or hull depending on the powder's intended use. The most common black walnut......

  • How to Dry Fresh Walnuts

    Walnut trees typically bear nuts in the early fall. Once the nuts fall to the ground, or the husks can be cut...

  • How to Shell Walnuts

    Black walnuts can be difficult to shell but are worth the effort for their distinctive nutty flavor and omega-3 fatty acids. ......

  • English Walnuts vs. Black Walnuts

    The English Walnut and the Black Walnut are both trees grown in temperate climates, and cultivated for their fruit and their wood....

  • How to Harvest and Store Walnuts

    how the heck are you supposed to keep the squirrels out of them? ... How to Dry Hickory Nuts & Walnuts. Both...

  • How to Soak & Dehydrate Walnuts

    How Long Should You Soak Pumpkin Seeds in Water? Comments You May Also Like. How to Dry Black Walnuts. ... The Best...

Related Searches

Read Article

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!