One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Monday, October 12, 2015

Harvesting Black Walnuts

 Yesterday's sunrise.  Just beautiful!

I took some time to pick up two five gallon buckets of our black walnuts.  They have pretty much fallen in the last few days here.  In fact, they were falling on me as I picked them up.  Black walnuts contain more protein than English walnuts and have a stronger flavor.

The hulling and rinsing process is underway, but these will need to dry in the sun.  (click on "read more" to see the remainder of the post).

Hubby and I built a drying tray for the hulled nuts.  We used scrap wood from the big barn project, and used chicken wire that was from the original, first goat fencing.  Much of the chicken wire had holes (from Misty's horns - lesson learned) so we just folded it in half and stapled it down.

If you have an old screen door, you could simply put that over a wheelbarrow, fill the screen up with hulled nuts and wheel it in and out of a garage or barn, to dry in the sun.

We hulled almost all of the nuts I picked up, but as you can see, it takes a lot of work to get a lot of nuts.  After they are hulled, they are rinsed off.  Some suggest a power washer, but I can't see how you could do that without the nuts flying all over.  We just used the water hose.  These will dry in the sun, then we'll test for dryness before shelling them.  The tree is still full of them, and the yard is too.

I'm excited to get this many hulled already, but as you know I am so sensitive to skin irritants, I had one casualty - an allergic reaction.  Ha.  We are both shaking are heads again.  I had on gloves that I use to cut up hot peppers, then another pair over those.  Hubby did as well.  When we pulled off our gloves, evidently my first pair had a hole, and the liquid from the walnut skins seeped in over my knuckles.  It burned my skin, turning it red and blotching, and blistery. 

I immediately washed my hands, and cut a slice from my aloe plant.  The aloe, straight from the aloe plant is working great.  I'll have an odd looking hand for a while, thanks to the gorgeous shade of brown the skins make, but the rash is under control.  Next batch I'll need some better gloves.   

Hubby didn't have a reaction, but his gloves didn't completely hold up either.  He has a few fingers dyed brown too.

By the way, I now have three aloe plants.


Michelle said...

Have you ever heard of taking the shelled walnuts and placing them in a pint jar with 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring, then cover and let sit for a month? After this time they are suppose to taste like pecans. I have never tried this but my mom and aunt did this when the pecan crop did not make and they needed pecans for their baked goods.

Kristina said...

Michelle, I have never done that. Very interesting.

Kim said...

When I clean the hulls off black walnut I use the black chemical gloves that I buy at Harbor Freight. And we lay ours in the grass and power wash them. Then lay them on the picnic tables and put a fan on them for a few days.

Kristina said...

Kim, thanks for that tip on the gloves. My left hand doesn't looks so appealing, ha ha! I tried to get Hubby to power wash, but he said no, just use the hose. I'll have to try that the next time.

Mama Pea said...

I know the black walnuts are a pain and a half (for more reasons than one, huh?) to process, but, oh my, the flavor is heavenly!

Kristina said...

Mama Pea, Hubby remembers his dad using black walnuts for making fudge, and was happy to help me. Halfway through each of our buckets he was asking, "why can't we buy walnuts?" ha ha! It is work.

RB said...

Our Dad brought home some Black Walnuts once. To hull them, he put them in an old pillowcase, laid them down in the gravel driveway and ran them over and over and over again with his jeep. I don't remember how we shelled them after that, but I do remember someone having black fingers. We were all anxious to taste them, but they were the bitterest thing I've ever tasted in my life. He ended up throwing them all away because none of us would eat them after that.
Are yours real bitter too?
God bless.

Kristina said...

RB, they can taste bad if they are not dried long enough. I'll crack one to test dryness before we shell them.

RB said...

Now that explains a lot Kristina, we were eating them (or trying to) right after they were cracked when they were far from dry. LOL
Surprised our Dad didn't know they had to be dried. He really was a man of the land and knew many things, but guess he didn't know this.
God bless.