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Anyone know anything about preparing walnuts?

 
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Anyone know anything about preparing walnuts? Reply with quote

When we moved into this house about 10 years ago I found a seedling emerging from a walnut shell in a border flowerbed. I moved it to a more convenient spot and now it's a mature tree producing walnuts.

Last year I got the first one. I was able to work the hard shell out of the soft green one but I didn't know what to do with it after that. I think I let it dry for some time. Still, when I opened it, a tiny perfect but nearly white nutmeat was sitting in there.

I tasted it — hell's bells, huitlacoche didn't stop me so a raw walnut wasn't going to — and it was roughly like chewing cartiledge both in flavor and texture.

If I had some reasonably convenient way to clean off the green casings and knew how to roast or prepare the remaining nuts, I could have a decent crop of fresh walnuts this year. ...and I think I deserve that because the tree is eating up the sunshine that my tomatoes used to get.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found this : http://www.ehow.com/how_4440_harvest-store-walnuts.html

We have a 12 year old English walnut tree, a beautiful thing! It was a 4 foot stick when planted, now it dwarfs 2 twenty-foot aspens in our back yard. Right now there are lots of apple green slightly fuzzy walnut fruits, but by the time they start dropping (ready to harvest) 2/3rds of them will have little worms! It happens every year, so we just gave up trying to get a usable crop. The nuts we did try were tasteless, but that was when the tree was very young.

The cherry tree was full of white blossoms again this year, but has about 1/10th of the usual number of cherries--Rich and I are wondering if this is because of the bee shortage... (cherries need to be pollinated).

We are not gardeners, my 24 baby black tomatoes ALL died, the work/fun ratio of proper feed-the-family gardening discourages me. I sure get hyped reading about it, though, and looking at those lush plant catalogues.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, how sad!

We had to have hedges trimmed way back so we could get the house painted. When the sun got to that spot all the seeds from the tomatoes that I guess the birds sat in the hedge and ate sprouted. If you were closer I could give you a dozen plants of undetermined heritage.
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey: I know nothing about drying mature walnuts, but I can tell you that Italians celebrate spring by gathering green walnuts while they may. Then they make nocino, a liqueur. Cf.: http://ilforno.typepad.com/il_forno/2004/07/drink_your_waln.html
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deste- How interesting! Thanks so much.

I suppose my walnuts have gone on too close to ripening by this point (but I'll cut one in half and see) but next year I can be prepared to try this much sooner.

I'm intrigued by what this could taste like. I'm not seeing a good description of the flavor. Still, I'll know everyone on the block won't have it so it's more than worth a try when the nuts are at the right point.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never heard of Nocino 'til now, Deste! There are many people both at eGullet and Chowhound (both food sites) who have made/tasted some--pictures, recipes, and general discussion can be found there.
I went out to the back yard and picked a few--they are still green, smooth, soft enough that I could put my fingernail through the skin. Once I chopped them open my nail could go right into the shell-to-be, and the nutmeat intself. The flavor is bitter, very slightly piney.

One of the posters said the stuff does NOT taste like nut liqueur, (Frangelico etc.) but is more herbal. David Lebovitz has a dessert recipe in one of his books which uses Nocino.
It seems to me that any unripe vegetation left in nearly pure alcohol for 2 months with sugar spice and lemon peel would pretty much come out quite similar to all other jars of bitter green things. However, I've never tried it, so I just don't know.
It does have an unusual color--described as green-black, used motor oil ! (The color develops gradually as it ages.)
I don't think I'll try this, though, it doesn't grab me.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm going to! Especially, if you say yours still have soft shells. I'll go check mine.

I'm not even crazy about alcohol and I'm both curious and grateful there's something that doesn't involve all the steps for preparing walnuts for baking. Wink I wasn't going to make limoncello at first 'cause I didn't think I'd actually drink any. But I've had a bit on crushed ice and used it in cake and ice cream. And, fortunately, there isn't any expiration date on liqueurs. Wink
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rats! Or more specifically, Squirrels! The tree's picked clean. Evil or Very Mad

Well, next year I'll pick without waiting for them to ripen.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey if you think they'd keep, I'd be happy to send you some of mine!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's very kind of you but I don't think it would make it across CA Ag Inspection and might get somebody in some trouble. I would think that would hardly make it worth having to package up and take to the PO. But it's awfully sweet of you.

I'll have a treeful again next year and then I won't have any reason to let them grow on until I think they're ripe. I'll snatch them before the little buggers. Wink
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey,

You could try putting up fiendishly cunning devices so that the squirrels have to do a mission impossible to get the nuts... then film them and market the film! Then buy walnuts!!! Very Happy Every so often I am full of great ideas... not that this is one of those times, I just thought I'd let you know that it does happen. Honest.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One year I fed them because they were funny to watch and because I was so naive that I thought if they had enough to eat they'd leave my trees alone. Shows what a dope I can really be!

Have you seen the bird feeder that has a motor and a weighted trip switch? Birds are light enough to feed but if a squirrel hits the perch they get FLUNG and I mean FLUNG! The promotional video is funny but I think it's a little too overtly mean to actually buy one.

Squirrels gotta eat too. Wink
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