Help with Harvesting Walnuts

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by bluemule31, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. bluemule31

    bluemule31 Well-Known Member

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    This will be my first fall in our current house and we just happen to have two walnut trees in our yard. I would like some advice from some of yall "in the know" on when to gather and process them. They're "loaded down" as we say down here and I would prefer they not go to waste when they drop.
     
  2. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gather them when they fall. You'll have to get the husk off the nut. Some people lay them in the driveway and run over them with a car or riding mower (blades turned off). I use my foot and roll them around on my deck. Takes forever but my car is too heavy and crushes the nuts.

    Pick up the nuts (which still need to be shelled, some people I have talked to don't know that) and set them some place where you can rinse them off then let them set to dry. At this point they must be protected from nut stealing squirrels which will take all the good ones and leave you with empty shells.

    After a few weeks to a couple months you can start testing to see if the meats are dry enough. Crack the shell open and check the meat inside. It should look similar to the English walnuts you get from the grocery store, texture wise.

    Store in glass jars in the freezer. The meats will turn rancid pretty fast compared to store bought nuts if not stored properly.

    DO NOT put the shells or the husks in your garden. They contain a substance called juglone which is toxic to tomatoes and related crops.

    The shells are good to burn in a wood burning stove, fireplace or bonfire.
     

  3. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The shells also have a very dark dye in them.
     
  4. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

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    if these are black walnuts you may not like the bitter taste. Black walnuts are all we have here, we dont care for them. have tried planting english walnuts twice here now and failed twice due to my amount if care I gave the young trees.
     
  5. blooba

    blooba Well-Known Member

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    and you may wanna warn them about the black dye staining anything and everything and is a pain to get rid of the stains (hands,clothes,decks, ect.)....lol
     
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  6. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My experience has been that the good ones will stay on the tree and release almost overnight at the first hard frost. If you clear out the ones that fall beforehand, you'll get rid of those that are wormy or shrivelled. The good ones will be wormy, too in the outer husks only, and they are harmless--they will disappear with the husks.

    One good way to gather them is to use a "reach extender" tool with the hand grip and the little vacuum cup fingers on the end---you won't have to stoop down to get them and put them in the basket......

    I usually let the husks rot down in a plastic grape lug, with holes. A very messy hosing down does the rest, with the cleaned walnuts facing the Autumn sunshine to dry them.

    geo
     
  7. Prismseed

    Prismseed Self-sufficient newb!

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    Would a lidless tupperware tub in a decomissioned chicken house do for drying them?
    A little short on squirrel proofing and rain shelter.

    Plant murder aside does it have other use for the walnut? Considering planting a few with husk mulch.
     
  8. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why not just spread them on the floor? They wouldn't touch that way and would dry much faster, eliminating any mold problems.

    geo
     
  9. Prismseed

    Prismseed Self-sufficient newb!

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    It's an industrial chickenhouse. Still has a layer of sawdust and manure on it.

    Though I may be able to ferret up a tarp...
     
  10. MDKatie

    MDKatie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One year we gathered 2 50 lb feed bags full of the walnuts from our trees, and then left them under the deck to "get to them later". Forgot about them, and come spring there were zero nuts left. The squirrels thanked us that winter. :eek:
     
  11. oneokie

    oneokie Well-Known Member

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    Use the search function, there are several threads about how to process black walnuts.