Harvesting and Handling Black Walnuts

Light-colored black walnut kernels have a milder flavor than dark ones. If you prefer light-colored kernels, hull the nuts as soon as they drop from the tree. Allowing the hulls to partially decompose before hulling causes a discoloration of the kernels.

The hulls are thick and fleshy at maturity. They can be mashed and removed by hand, but mechanical devices such as a corn sheller make the job easier.

After hulling, wash the nuts thoroughly and spread out away from sunlight to dry for 2 to 3 weeks. Then store in a cool, dry place.

Kernels that have been tempered before the shell is cracked are easier to remove. Soak the nuts in water for 1 to 2 hours, drain, then keep in a closed container for 10 to 12 hours. The kernels will absorb enough moisture to become tough, yet will remain loose in the shell.


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