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.
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 cows. And 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.