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Copyright:  Mike Sillett

Contents: Gathering and Dehusking

1. Intro
2. Materials
3. Procedure
    Pt. 1 - Gathering and Husk Removal
    Pt. 2 - Washing and Drying

Photo showing approximately 48 black walnuts that have been dehusked and thoroughly washed.

1. Intro

I would bet that there are as many rotting black walnuts every year as there are people that could care less if they existed at all.
Yet, black walnuts are so good!

Here in the U.S. we are so satisfied eating bland food products that when we meet with something of flavor it's almost considered as being overpowering. White eggs that are produced by crowded hens, white bread from flour processed with bleaching agents and improving agents to make it appear fluffier and tight grained, white mushrooms that are cultivated in controlled environments on pasteurized horse manure and mass produced cheese slices in individual plastic wrappings, etc. The food we purchase is more for it's appearance and processing convenience than it's taste or nutrition.

So it also goes with nuts. We go to the bulk bin and buy English walnuts and are satisfied even though we have to try to taste them. English walnuts are cultivated because they are easy to process, easy to crack open and they look nice. However, like many things that look nice, there is something lacking.

People are reluctant to gather black walnuts because they know it takes a bit of work and they believe it is a messy proposition to dehusk and clean them up. Some of that is true, however, as with many things, there are ways to do things that make it easier.
I am absolutely certain if someone took just a little time to process a few black walnuts in the manner I do it they will thereafter look forward to the bounty that is free for the taking every year. Everyone has a method with something. Some are good and some not.
Some are known and some not.

I have been gathering Black Walnuts and Butternuts for years and have tried all kinds of ways to process them. This is what I came up with many years ago and I have not seen any easier and less time consuming way to do it.
All it takes is a secluded road in the country, good stout shoes or boots, a couple of good work gloves and two buckets.

Now ask yourself - how many English walnuts do you buy at the bulk bin every year in the fall? Probably not that many since average ANNUAL 'per capita' English walnut consumption is around 1/2 pound.
That's not many nuts!
If that is about what you buy then you DO NOT need to go out this fall and gather hundreds of black walnuts.
Just do this method with 25 - 30 nuts. You can gather that many holding your breath for Pete's sake.

2. Materials

About thirty Black Walnuts.
Good heavy-duty shoes or boots.
Work gloves.
Two buckets with lids that fit.
Mixing stick.
Plenty of water.

3. Procedure

Gathering and Husk Removal

This procedure works with Black Walnuts ( Juglans nigra ) and Butternuts ( Juglans cinerea ).


Put on the work gloves and pick 25 to 30 nuts.

Photo showing a bucket of Black Walnuts.
Five minutes worth of black walnut gathering.

Find a good hard surface road, like concrete, blacktop or macadam, somewhere in the countryside that is not well traveled.
Also, we want a road that has a clean road edge.
A place to take your time, where you won't get run over and where the mess will be out in the country where it should be.

Photo showing a good location for crushing black walnut husks.
Here is one of my country roads. It gets about two vehicles per day. When I clean my nuts here I usually do not get bothered.

Put on your boots.
Dump the black walnuts from the bucket onto to the road and roll them one at a time under your foot.
It will be a fast process this way even though you are doing it one at a time.

photo showing 40+ black walnuts that are going to get stomped by my foot to remove the husks.

Photo demonstrating how to use a road surface and your foot to crush black walnut husks.

After you crush them all scoot the nuts to one side, away from the husks.

Photo showing approximately 45 dehusked black walnuts.
These 40+ nuts took about 5 minutes to dehusk and segregate.

Go To Part 2



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