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Archive for October 23rd, 2007

Black Walnuts

A couple of weeks ago, John had been on one of his walks and came back with several of these walnuts (we were at another park then). He laid them out on the picnic table outside of the rig to dry.

For those not knowing about black walnuts. They have a different taste (really good) then regular walnuts and are a lot more expensive, that is when you can find them in the market. 

The walnut trees need the cold winters to produce their fruit. The nuts fall from these huge trees, looking a lot like green lemons; they smell like them also! They are also the same size of lemons.

The nuts must dry to get them out of their shells. They come straight from the tree with a coat on. This green outer coating is like the skin on citrus fruit. It is approximately the thickness of the peel of a naval orange, and it must be taken off before the nut shell proper can be seen. This happens after the green skin softens and turns black, at that time it is easy to tear the blackened area of the nut off. After that the nut must continue to dry so that it will shrink and be easier to remove from the shell.  

As I was saying, John laid his walnuts (in their green coats, some already black and soft, some still green) onto the table outside. The next day he plays with them, repositioning them, rubbing off the dark coat on some; in general just admiring his cache.

A couple of days later, he notices that all of the nuts are gone, with just the black leavings left on the table. He had been robbed!

After noticing that they were gone, he asks me if I had taken his nuts! Of course, I had not, but keeping a straight face, I mention to him that I had noticed gray squirrels scampering around the trees that were close behind us and on the green grass areas near us.

It was funny, he had provided a ready source of nuts for the squirrels; and they were quick to take advantage of the situation! He, of course, didn’t see the humor in it. Poor guy, and he was so looking forward to eating those nuts.

I am sorry that I didn’t think to take a picture of those nuts lying on the table. I could have shown them to you. Oh well.

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Mid-morning the other day, John asked me if I was ready to go – go where, I reply. He then reminded me of the little adventure that we had planned on taking, ie, going to gather wild black walnuts!

So we gather up some stuff; a big huge brown bag (with handles), a small pail, and a large five gallon empty paint bucket. We pile into the car and head off to the wild part of the RV park. This is a wooded area that is only used for hiking and fun. We drove down a country lane, mostly just two dirt tracks with weeds growing up the center. After a bit we came to some black things lying on the road, all smashed up. John declares that those are the walnuts.

Oh, now this is my kind of fun! I tramped through the brush, into and up the other side of the ditch (no water) to get closer to the tree, but find out that most of the nuts are in the ditch and in the road and on the other side of the road. It was like a treasure hunt. Sounds silly, but I had a lot of fun. We would drive from one tree to the next, watching for the nuts in the road to locate where the gold was! We came away with all of our containers filled.

Before: Lots of Nuts

After:   walnuts 021

Thankfully I had the forethought to wear my jeans, as the brush had lots of things to snag and cut us. John wearing shorts, had several deep scratches on his legs.

John spent part of the next day, cleaning the outer skins off of the nuts. He did this by dumping them on the ground and stomping on them, grinding them into the ground. He sure had a mess! Then he picked up the black nuts and laid them on the picnic table Then raked the ground clear of the black leftovers. The nuts that were now lying on the table sort of look like a peach pit that is black, though they were rounder then a pit. Now they have to dry so the meat inside will shrink and make it possible to get it out of the shell.

walnuts 002 walnuts 003a

To learn more about black walnuts go to my post telling about a spot of humor concerning black walnuts.

Hopefully the squirrels won’t discover the table covered with the nuts.

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