The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. Pr. 13:4
Harvesting/Picking up the Walnuts
Walnuts are ready to harvest each fall. Some years there will be a bigger harvest than others. This can depend on the weather, or whether or not there had been a big harvest the year before.
When you see that the walnuts are falling/have fell off the trees, they are ready to harvest. Get yourself some boxes, containers, milk crates, totes, buckets, or whatever you prefer and just simply pick them up! There is also a special tool made specifically for this job, called a “nut picker upper”. (see photo on left)
It is always a good idea to bring along a hammer and go ahead and crack a few open to make sure there are actually nuts inside before you spend all the time gathering them! Wear gloves while cracking them, so you don’t get the green juice on your hands. (More on this in another post here)
Lay the walnuts in the sun to dry on a tarp, until the hulls are brown/black. You may need to flip them over if the bottoms are not drying well. They will dry faster if you do not allow them to get rained on.
When you peel off the husk, it should come off easily. If there is any husk left sticking to the nut, you can use a wire brush to get off what is sticking. This is optional, but is a good idea if you are not planning on cracking them right away.
If any of your nuts are still wet, lay them back out in the sun to prevent molding.
Storing the Nuts in Shell
When all your walnut shells are dry, put them into whichever type of storage container you choose. It will not matter if it has small holes or not, just as long as you put it in a place where they can stay dry.
ALWAYS BE SURE TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN CRACKING WALNUTS!
There are a lot of ways to crack walnuts. You can use a nutcracker (there are many different kinds), a hammer, or a vice.
Most nutcrackers will come with instructions, or you can easily find a video on how to use them from YouTube.
When using a vice, pieces of the nut sometimes like to fly off. But it works good and breaks the shell apart to get the nut out easier and in pretty good sized pieces.
We have found if you use a heavy piece of metal (like an anvil or something similar) to set the nut on when you are cracking using a hammer, it breaks apart to get out the nut easier. If you just use a piece of wood, it usually just drives the nut into it, and the nut and shell just breaks into little pieces.
Storing the Nuts
When you have finished all your nut cracking, just put your nuts in a ziploc bag. You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 months. Make sure to keep them in the bag and keep the bag closed, as walnuts can soak up smells and tastes from foods with strong odors, like garlic or onions.They can also be frozen for up to a year…But they never last that long around our house!