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One fellow told me his way of opening Black Walnuts. Put the nuts in burlap bags, place the bags on the driveway, Run his truck or car over them. Pour the bags out onto a table or wheelbarrow and remove the cracked open nuts. Put the unopened nuts back into the bags, run over them again. Repeat until all nuts are opened.
My Dad used to put the green nuts in his vice in his workshop and force each nut open.
Thanks Spud, Joan, Randy, for your walnut stories. I suspect these are black walnuts, from the few that have broken husks. If so they are both a challenge and a treasure. Randy, how do you preserve the walnuts? Freezer? I will check wikipedia, thanks Spud.
I read somewhere that smell is our most durable sense memory. Collecting these walnuts, I think that's true. I haven't thought about them in years, but the smell of the husks was like a spicy perfume for me. I don't recall liking that smell before, but I do now.
I remember, very poorly, that we also collected walnuts in the small town where I grew up in Southwestern Illinois / MIssouri. But I don't remember husking them. I was thinking, we just let them sit until the husks softened on their own. That memory may well be wrong.
Here are a couple of the persimmon trees in my yard now. They are very pretty in their fall color. Currently, the leaf color is the same as the fruits.
Yates American (Indiana) Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana
Nikita's Gift, Ukranian hybrid of American with Asian persimmon, Diospyros kaki.
Daniel, your Gingko tree looks impressive. Your walnuts appear paler in color than ours. One taste and you'll know if they're black walnuts or not. Of course, they're ubiquitous around these parts. My tree didn't produce any nuts this year for some reason. But I cracked enough last winter to last at least 2 years--nearly 3 gallons worth!
Interesting information, Joan--both from research and personal. I, too, come from a long line of walnut crackers, remembering my grandmother.
In my experience, it's much harder to remove the husk from black walnuts and they die your fingers, even through gloves. It's also much harder to crack the walnut and extract the meat.
Wikipedia has good information, including some ways to get the husks off.
Daniel, my Grandmother Denoo had a huge walnut tree at their home on the Salmon River at Lucille, near Riggins, Idaho. We cousins gathered there in the summer, doing all the things that kids do on a self-supporting farm. We helped Grandma and Grandad get ready for winter.
The green husks on the Black Walnuts had sometimes popped open, and we peeled them using hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, nails pounded into a 2x4 to hold a nut while we used whatever tool was needed.
When the husks were gone, we dumped our buckets of husked nuts into a large washtub - the old-fashioned kind that we washed clothes in on a scrub board. Any nut that floated went into the trash pile.
After washing, we spread the wet nuts, still in their shell, on a screen door laid on saw horses and used as a drying rack. We kept the drying nuts out of the sun and turned them daily for several weeks.
When thoroughly dried, we stored them in a galvanized trash can with a lid bought for the purpose of storing food. The trash can full of walnuts went into the root cellar.
To eat them, we took a bucket of nuts, still in the shell, and put them on large cookie sheets, baked them at about 350°F for 15-20 minutes.
Don't be surprised if others tell a different process. This is what we did about 70 years ago.
The big five mass extinctions:
1. End Ordovician, 444 million years ago, 86% of species lost, probably caused by "a short, severe ice age."
2. End Devonian, 375 million years ago, 75% of species lost, probably caused by the "newly evolved land plants that emerged, covering the planet during the Devonian period." The fast growth of flora "may have triggered algal blooms which sucked the oxygen out of the water, suffocating bottom dwellers like the trilobites."
3. End Permian, 251 million years ago, 96% of species lost, probably caused by a "cataclysmic eruption near Siberia blasted CO2 into the atmosphere. Methanogenic bacteria belching out methane, a potent greenhouse gas, global temperatures surging while oceans acidified and stagnated, belching hydrogen sulfide poisoning life. Rocks after this period record no coral reefs or coal deposits.
Ginkgoales, first appeared in the Permian, 270 million years ago.
The Ginkgo survived this extinction.
4. End Triassic, 200 million years ago, 80% of species lost, "No clear cause has been found.”
5. End Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, 76% of all species lost, probably caused by "volcanic activity and climate change. The asteroid impact that ended the dinosaurs’ reign provided the final blow. Only a few dwindling species of ammonites survived. Today, the ammonites’ oldest surviving relative is the Nautilus.
6. Will the Ginkgo survive the next extinction?
~ The big five mass extinctions
Just think, the A-bomb killed life all around this Gingko tree, destroying the old temple and all the other buildings around it.
Ginkgo at Shukkeien garden in 1945 after the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Ginkgo at Shukkeien garden as it stands today
Joan, am I calculating right, Ginkgo survived 3 mass extinctions? That's pretty durable or adaptable. From wikipedia, they originated 270 million years ago.
I like to think that the trees I plant will do something, or leave progeny, for later generations. That might be a vain thought, but it helps keep me going. That is also my motivation for growing a dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), which was common during the Paleocene epoch, which is not nearly as ancient as ginkgos, but is still a living fossil.
Does anyone here know what to do with walnuts in the shell / husk? I saw a tree with many walnuts by the roadside and picked up a bucket full. The might be black walnuts, not sure.
Sorry, my link didn't work.
The Ginkgo site, beautifully designed and chock full of information, offers a tree that may well meet the challenges of the coming years.
Photos for Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
The Ginkgo site, beautifully designed and chock full of information, offers a tree that may well meet the challenges of the coming years. To think that the A-bomb killed life all around, even as this badly damaged tree remained to be the center of a new era. The art and designs amaze me.
2. Late Devonian, 375 million years ago, 75% of species lost, probably caused by the "newly evolved land plants that emerged, covering the planet during the Devonian period. Their deep roots stirred up the earth, releasing nutrients into the ocean. This might have triggered algal blooms which sucked oxygen out of the water, suffocating bottom dwellers like the trilobites."
3. End Permian, 251 million years ago, 96% of species lost, probably caused by a "cataclysmic eruption near Siberia blasted CO2 into the atmosphere. Methanogenic bacteria responded by belching out methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Global temperatures surged while oceans acidified and stagnated, belching poisonous hydrogen sulfide. 'It set life back 300 million years.' Rocks after this period record no coral reefs or coal deposits."
4. End Triassic, 200 million years ago, 80% of species lost, "Of all the great extinctions, the one that ended the Triassic is the most enigmatic. No clear cause has been found."
5. End Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, 76% of all species lost, probably caused by "volcanic activity and climate change already placed the ammonites under stress. The asteroid impact that ended the dinosaurs’ reign provided the final blow. Only a few dwindling species of ammonites survived. Today, the ammonites’ oldest surviving relative is the nautilus. Will it survive the sixth great extinction?"
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