Look at those nuts! Black Walnuts to be precise! The previous owners of the farm told us that there were two black walnut trees in the woods near the river and that we shouldn’t tell anyone about them. I was puzzled about why we had to keep them hidden, especially since most people think of them as a nuisance rather then a trove of edible, high protein, tasty nuts. The wood is pretty fancy too I know, but I’m sure many homeowners would volunteer theirs up for lumber. So, I feel comfortable sharing their existence with you.
We had a black walnut tree back near our fort growing up but never thought to eat them, even though we did often try to pick out edible bits from the hickory nuts that grew on one side of the house. I remember my dad being mostly annoyed by them and thought that they might be poisonous. We would pick out the empty walnut halves and hold them to our faces and oink – “pignoses,” we called them.
But now that I know better, I decided to go out and collect the black walnuts that had ripened and fallen to the ground in the woods. I was not prepared:
I came back with a bigger bag and now have approximately five tons of black walnuts to be processed. The one above was a test – it was actually pretty tasty. They have a very strong walnuty flavor – more than the usual English walnuts that you get in the supermarket. The shells on these are harder to crack than English walnuts which is one reason people don’t often mess with the black walnut. My hatchet worked pretty well – so check back and make sure I have all my fingers once I’m done with these.