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  #1  
Old 11/08/10, 05:36 PM
 
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How to crack black walnuts

How do you do it? Is there an easy way, or did you buy some kind of nut cracker?

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  #2  
Old 11/08/10, 05:48 PM
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My dad had two methods; either a bench vise, or wrap in a towel and use his carpentry hammer.
Matt

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Old 11/08/10, 05:54 PM
 
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Hammer and concrete

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Old 11/08/10, 05:57 PM
 
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Run over them with a tank, save the dirt under them to repel robbers and toss the nuts!

LOL OK, I couldn't resist. We had a giant Black Walnut tree in our front yard when I was a kid and I used to just laugh myself silly watching my mom trying to crack those things. She loved them, I hated them and still do.

Good luck with em. LQ

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  #5  
Old 11/08/10, 06:02 PM
 
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Nothing better than Mom"s black walnut fudge at Christmas time. We used a hammer on a granite rock, then a nut pick. If you strike on the ridge/edge where the halves seem to join, you can (sometimes) open it up and then break the internal wall with the pick. Then you can ease out the nut meats intact. Otherwise, good luck and chew lightly....

geo

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Old 11/08/10, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wind power View Post
Hammer and concrete
i agree,thats how i crack mine after they are dry...
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Old 11/08/10, 07:34 PM
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Hammer and concrete
Me too!
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  #8  
Old 11/08/10, 08:07 PM
 
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If you get a machine to break them get one with a long handle because you will need it. I have use most of the ways to break them but a hammer and something solid is the best way.

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  #9  
Old 11/08/10, 10:43 PM
 
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I've been told the big nut companies boil them first before cracking them open. Suppose to make picking the goodies out much easier. I haven't tried this so I don't know if it works or not.

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  #10  
Old 11/08/10, 10:55 PM
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There's an Amish family that cracks them for me for $6 a pound! Can't beat it!

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Old 11/08/10, 11:23 PM
 
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I agree with using the hammer.

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  #12  
Old 11/09/10, 05:36 AM
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I just use my bare finger strength...

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Old 11/09/10, 06:41 AM
 
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trained squirels

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  #14  
Old 11/09/10, 10:44 AM
 
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I have started cracking mine with a large nut cracker I purchased that uses leverage and it is wonderful. I'm 73 and have no problem cracking them but I do use eye protection as parts of the shells sometimes fly out.

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Old 11/09/10, 11:02 AM
 
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I hammer them, use a chisel and mallet, stomp on them and then give up when I realize I've stained everything. Hope that advice helps.

There's a tree up the hill, and walnuts are my favorite nut. Oh, the irony.

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Old 11/09/10, 11:20 AM
 
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Dad had a wood stump in the basement, probably an elm a foot across & 2 feet high, sat down there & cracked them with a hammer and threw the shells in the furnace. A hard wood like that works good.

Try doing butternuts some time, and the walnuts will be a breeze!

--->Paul

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  #17  
Old 11/09/10, 11:42 AM
 
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I remember the first time we got black walnuts from a tree. We had just moved to Alabama and I was 15 yrs old. My Dad told me and my younger brother to hull them. Well, we didn't know that it would stain our hands, so we didn't use anything. Needless to say, we both ended up with stained hands.

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Old 11/09/10, 12:16 PM
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Try doing butternuts some time, and the walnuts will be a breeze!
If butternuts are the nuts I'm thinking of, they're easier than black walnuts.

(But I may be thinking of the wrong nuts).
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  #19  
Old 11/09/10, 01:29 PM
 
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Mom used a ball peen hammer and a fender dolly from dad's box of body & fender tools...later dad obtained a 6" length of railroad rail for an anvil to rivet new sickle bar blades & mom used that instead of the fender dolly...

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Old 11/09/10, 02:09 PM
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LOL They sound just as tough to get into as the maple nuts(?) a friend brought for me from Arkansas, she then said she was surprised she didn't see many squirrels there in Evening Shade.....me with hammer in hand trying to crack one open said "Of course there aren't any squirrels there, the poor things starved to death trying to get into these!"

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  #21  
Old 11/09/10, 02:14 PM
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We have a custom built cracker that can crack 600 lbs per hour.

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  #22  
Old 11/09/10, 04:04 PM
 
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I was just talking to a guy who was remembering his father jacking up his truck a little off the ground and shoveling the nuts under the tire as it turned. Sounds dangerous and interesting. He claimed it worked quite well and was common practice in Michigan in the 1940s.

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  #23  
Old 11/09/10, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
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My dad had two methods; either a bench vise, or wrap in a towel and use his carpentry hammer.
Matt
My Papaw taught me to use a bench vise to start the cracking, then to gently tap with a hammer on a clean concrete surface. This method got the best results in getting out all the nut meats. Lot of good memories.
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  #24  
Old 11/09/10, 07:31 PM
 
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mattc,

you sure he wasn't just getting the hulls off? I don't see how that would help to crack them open.

my dad always left the walnuts in the driveway to be driven over to de-hull (is that a word).

and hammer and something concrete to crack them. you learn the knack after a few dozen. I much prefer to crack open hickory nuts, so much easier to pick out. I might have to tell my dad about the boiling bit to try. me, I just let the squirrels have the ones on my tree. cracked enough and de=hulled enough as a kid.

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Old 11/09/10, 09:36 PM
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I'm the son of a physician in rural NE Ohio. He had a lot of farmers as patients. It was not unusual for a farmer to stop by our house and drop off produce as a friendly gesture.

One such farmer dripped-off a gunny sack full of black walnuts every year. We tried everything to open the blasted things. One thing's for sure, there's a lot more wood in them than nut meat. We would hammer on them for a few months, then eventually throw the ones we didn't get open into the fireplace. There must be a moral to my story, but I can't imagine what it might be.

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  #26  
Old 11/09/10, 11:27 PM
 
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Boil them for about 1 hr, then use any good nutcracker or a hammer and railroad rail and nut picks. Still not easy, but much easier than dry.
John

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  #27  
Old 11/10/10, 02:52 AM
 
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There's not much info out there on how to crack them, and believe me I've looked. Crackers for black walnuts can run upwards of $30, and they are all crack-one-at-a-time affairs. Any cracking method is tedious.

The trick is to put just enough pressure on the shell to crack it just enough to hopefully leave the inside meat intact. It's not easy. When hammering or squeezing the nut in a vice, you're supposed to position it where the pressure is going to be on the pointy ends of the shell. From what I've read, it seems a vise or vise-like device is the way to go.

Before trying to crack them -- whether with a vice or a hammer -- it's important to let the shells dry for about two months. This allows the meat inside the shell to dry out and shrink so as to make it much easier to extract.
I've gotten several opinions on drying times, but 4-6 weeks seems to be the
most frequent rule (although I heard from one person who drys them for about a year.)

I've also heard and read that you should soak them in hot water for about a half hour before cracking them, and I suppose this also loosens up the meat within the shell. Howevet, I've also heard that this step is unnecessary.

Havesting black walnuts is a whole lot of work any way you look at it. My friend and I decided to harvest nuts from a couple of trees on his property this year. It was a learning experience. First of all, there was only one huller at a co-op within about 50 miles of us, and they would pay ten cents per pound for hulled nuts. The wait for getting the nuts machine hulled -- that is, removing the green hull from the shell -- took a couple or three hours this particular day because everybody had a bumper crop this year. We had a had a choice of keeping the hulled nuts at a cost of two cents per hulled pound or selling them to the co-op for ten cents per hulled pound. We chose the latter as did everybody else we saw that day at the co-op. (We spent about 2.5 hours in a long line of pickup trucks to get the nuts hulled.)

After talking with the folks at the co-op, we found out that the real money in black walnuts comes from grinding the shells into granular powders for use in things like facial cleansers. This was a surpirse to me considering that I know that black walnut nutmeats are quite expensive.

This year was a learning experience for us. The first thing we learned is that you must have the nuts hulled (green covering removed) very shortly after they've been gathered because the nutmeats start rotting pretty quickly once the hulls start turning brown.

Anyway, after considerable research, I've found that there really is no simple way to crack black walnuts. I love eating them, and I'm still using a hammer with a brick as a platform.

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