Today, we finally, finally made the Gatherer part of our psyche deliriously giddy! We spent the day collecting, hulling, and washing black walnuts. I started off with a pair of gardening gloves - not a good idea.
We learned a few tidbits during our research today:
1. You don't have to wait until black walnuts are black to harvest them. In fact, pick them when they're green. They're much less likely to be filled with little white maggoty-looking worms.
2. You don't have to stuff them into a bag and then back over them with your car. In fact, several walnut experts report that doing that equals danger. Walnut pieces could bust off, break windows, hit animals, and so on. No good. Through trial and error, we found the best way to hull them is to stomp on them with the heel of your shoe, and then peel the green husk off. The stomping sped up the process quite a bit.
|The pretty peach inside quickly turns black once the air hits.|
3. You have to rinse them off - but they won't come completely clean. Get what you can off without completely stressing yourself out.
4. The walnuts have to cure for about 2 weeks before you can take the nut shells off.
5. The black walnut juice/dye is toxic to dogs and VERY toxic to horses. Keep your canine friends on a short leash or in the house when doing the dirty work.
|Franklin expressing his non-gratitude re. the short leash|
So, for now, we're waiting...we might harvest some more in the meantime. I never realized how many "walnut" foods I loved until I began this whole walnut fiasco this morning. I'm anxiously awaiting making homemade walnut burgers. Andy can't wait to make chocolate chip walnut cookies. And tonight I read about black walnut ice cream.