Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cleaning & Curing Walnuts

(Photo credit)
I like nuts. Of course, I'm from a long line of nuts, so it figures I would like some of them. But I'm not talking about those nuts, I'm talking English Walnuts.

English walnuts are high in omega 3's, vitamin E, and minerals such as; manganese, copper, iron, and selenium. They have been shown to help lower LDL levels of cholesterol, are high in protein, and are a rich source of anti-oxidants.

But that's not why I like them.

They're just delicious. Besides adding walnuts to baked goods (especially chocolate chips cookies!), I like to substitute them for pine nuts in pesto, toast and add them to sauteed veggies, and sprinkle on top of ice cream. For the holidays, my family likes walnuts that have been dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with coarse sea salt for a treat.

Last week, we had the opportunity to pick walnuts with some family members. I was so excited about picking the nuts that I forgot my camera, but don't worry, I'll create a visual for you...

Imagine 6 adults, bent over in a cow field, chucking nuts into 5 gallon buckets, for 2 hours straight.

No pictures needed. You're welcome.☺

When picking walnuts, it's important to wear gloves. Since we were in a cow field (complete with very large Holsteins that looked like they had been zapped by growth hormones), we also wore boots. Depending on the weather, the walnuts start to ripen and fall from the trees in October and November. Most of the nuts that fall still have some of the husk (that has turned black) on them.

(Photo credit)
Once on the ground, the husk gets a little slimy. Apparently, this is completely normal and probably the real reason for the gloves.☺ We came home with approximately 80+ pounds of nuts.

Before the nuts can be cured, they first must be washed.

The nuts are then dried with a leaf blower, because that's how my father-in-love rolls...

before being picked through to look for any that are open. Those are discarded because:
1. They were in a cow field. With cowsAnd poop
2. They make great condo's for insects looking to get out of the weather. Extra protein, yes. Appetizing? Not at all.
To cure the walnuts, we spread them out on old window screens that were placed near the woodstove.

And to detract dogs and kids, we put those screens up on drying racks.

The walnuts should be ready in 3-7 days, after which they'll be stored in gunny sacks until needed.
Until then, I'll be practicing patience. It is a virtue, you know.☺
 This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop.


Donna OShaughnessy said...

Amazing amount of work. Those walnut cookies ect will taste so much better than store bought nuts! Job well done

Mary Ann said...

I found an easy way to pick UP walnuts... the Walnut Wizard...but I was looking for a good way to process them... thank you!!!

Lisa {DoleValleyGirl} said...

I'm feeling a little jealous over all those walnuts but thought I'd drop by to say well done anyway. :) Enjoy!! ~Lisa

Candy C. said...

I'm surprised ya'll could stand up straight after two hours of picking up nuts, I think I would have been crippled! How neat that you guys were able to get all those lovely walnuts! :)