Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wal-nutty!

I took a couple days off work for a stay-cation, and I sure have been getting some stuff DONE!  In anticipation of the walnuts dropping from my 25 black walnut trees, I made these 4 curing racks.


But before we get to the curing part, we have to get the things off the ground!  I used my fantastic Nut Wizard and got 3 buckets full.  There are tons more in the trees!  2 of the 3 buckets are still sitting out under the trees because i ran out of juice before I could carry them in!


The green hull on walnuts will stain anything it touches (which is why it's used as a natural dye!) so I was trying to be careful and wore leather gloves.  I didn't want to mess up my shoes by stomping on them to get the hull off, so I just did the ones that I could rip off with my hands.  THEN, you have to wash them to get all the fiberous hull parts off - that's the part that isn't so fun.  Oh, this is the point when I realize that leather gloves were a stupid choice because they'd soaked through.  My fingers got a little brown, but not too bad.  I switched to rubber gloves.  Then I rinsed and rinsed in a bucket and I was afraid to dump the water because it's toxic to a lot of plant, so the first two bucket fulls I took out and dumped around a walnut tree.  then i got sick of that and just dumped it!  Some people use a concrete mixer with some gravel in it to get off all the hull.  I do not have a concrete mixer.  I do have a wire brush, so that's what I used.  whew.  This is what I got from half of a 5 gallon bucket.  some were tossed because they were "floaters" - those are ones with undeveloped walnuts.  Not a lot of walnuts.
But about 3 hours of work!


My hands are only a little stained, but I'm not too worried - i'm not a hand model!  I've noticed that it's gotten a bit darker as the night goes on - so maybe it'll be horrible by tomorrow!


Perhaps tomorrow I'll find some shoes that I can sacrifice as stomping shoes and get more done!  After they dry, you have to let them cure on the racks for a month or so.  After that, the fun of cracking them - black walnuts are like the diamonds of the nut world in terms of harness!  I saw a you tube video of a guy using his bench vice, and that's what I'm going to try too!  I know my neighbors all have walnut trees too, so maybe eventually I will get tips on being more efficient!  

1 comment:

fcarrie2 said...

Chris-
When I was young we used a device my Papaw made to remove the hull. It was just a piece of wood with holes of different sizes, up on a little wood stand. We chose the smallest hole that would work for each nut and whacked it with a hard rubber mallet. It would pop through with the green part removed. This was messy and fun - we did it outside on the porch over a tarp. Then he cured them in his garage for weeks, then we would sit at his bench vice cracking them, with a box underneath to catch the shells. I think we did this with pecans too, I remember working for days after school to get enough for one pecan pie!