View Full Version : Walnuts - Right off the Tree

October 2nd, 2006, 02:53 PM
Ok a nice neighbor brought me a bucket of walnuts - they are covered in this green outer cover with really smeary tar looking insides.

Is there a good fast way to get rid of this to get at the good walnuts?
There must be a trick to it, huh?

October 2nd, 2006, 03:44 PM
I assume they're black walnuts? My dad used to pour buckets of them out into the farm lane so he could drive over them with his tractor, breaking up the outer hulls before letting the rain wash them clean. Not exactly clean, quick, or easy, though.

If they're English (or Carpathian) walnuts, they should drop out off the husk on their own when they're ready. In fact, the hulls used to stay on the branch until the leaves fell from my parents' tree.

I hope this helps!

G. Gordon Gumbo
October 2nd, 2006, 03:46 PM

The easiest way is to go to the store and buy the walnut meat already extracted!

That black tarry gunk will stain your hands for a long long time. If you decide to mess with the walnuts, only do so with rubber gloves on.

There are basically two ways:

1. Dump them out onto a gravel driveway or road and let tires do the hulling. This is how I always did it.

2. Put them in a big tin washtub and fill it with water. Let the hulls ferment a day or two and stir the mess with a broom stick to knock as much of the hull material off. Pour out the gunk somewhere FAR FAR away from your garden as the stuff will poison your tomatoes or your roses. Repeat the process until the nuts are clean. This is how old Fred, my former neighbor, did it.

Either way you hull them, you have to let the walnuts dry out and cure a time because when the hulls are green, the meat is still moist and rubbery tasting. They won't taste like black walnuts until the insides dry for awhile.

When you finally get the nuts hulled, you then have to crack the rock hard devils with a hammer or in a vice and extract the miniscule amount of meat with a nut pick. Like I said ... it's a whole lot easier to buy the picked out nut meat.


October 2nd, 2006, 04:46 PM
Maybe I can sneak them and dump them somewhere! lol

dandelion meadow
October 2nd, 2006, 08:47 PM
Joan, I've got them falling all over the yard. I put them in piles far from garden and wonder if I should be using this precious resource. Everything the above posters said is true, though. Haven't used more than one or two out of curiosity about the taste(nature released the hulls for me). FYI, the walnut husks have medicinal value according to herbal medicine. They also make a fantastic dye.

October 2nd, 2006, 09:00 PM
My friend's mom used to pile them in the yard and run the garden tractor over them, then let them sit for a couple of days, then repeat. It's a lot of work and GGG's right about the staining ... we used to used them for "wars" when I was a kid ... took a looooong time for the stains to disappear.

October 3rd, 2006, 07:14 AM
Anyone with a tractor nearby??????
Oooh, Sandbar I hope you won the "wars" so you weren't covered too much in walnut stain!

October 3rd, 2006, 08:31 AM
So if walnuts are so user un-friendly and poisonous to other plants, I'm thinking that I should not bother planting the seed I have stratifying in the fridge??

Are there other nut trees that are friendlier to the home gardener?

October 3rd, 2006, 03:13 PM
They are not THAT bad (unfriendly), and you can use your car to de-hull...

We are processing about..... oh..... 600 pounds. And the nuts are still falling like crazy that we have to go pick up. The hulls dry fast and disintegrate into the dirt, not staining your fingers when dry. It is the same stuff called walnut stain that you buy in the store (for all you DIY folks). They smell good- citrusy. Under all the black walnut trees in our yard is this really nice fine grass that I love. So toxicity is not total. Also, we are eating them fresh, but the ones under the tree from last year are good (maybe better), but different.

October 3rd, 2006, 09:28 PM
Oooh, Sandbar I hope you won the "wars" so you weren't covered too much in walnut stain!
I hid behind trees a lot ... and, I often used the "run like a scared bunny" defense when attackers approached. :D

G. Gordon Gumbo
October 3rd, 2006, 11:53 PM
My comment was that you should not pour out the water in which you dehull the black walnuts around your garden because the hulls contain a chemical that will harm your tomatoes and some other garden plants. The black walnut trees and other parts of the black walnut like the hulls indeed are toxic to certain garden plants. Yes, some grasses and other plants will trive under a black walnut tree. Other common garden plants and shrubbery will succumb to the chemical in black walnut that is indeed toxic to those plants.

Click here for more specifics:


Lavandula Girl
October 4th, 2006, 04:54 AM
I posted an article I wrote awhile back - maybe in July? Check the archives for Walnut Wilt. I'm sure your friend meant well when she gave you the bag of walnuts, but they can be a lot of trouble. Personally, I like our walnut tree, and I love the smell of the drop in the fall (not everyone likes the smell of walnuts) but they are kind of a pain to clean up after. Unless you're really dedicated to the hulling process, there is a ton (literally) of mess to pick up in the fall. Walnut detritus can be composted, but it needs a l-o-n-g time in the compost pile to get rid of the juglone.

October 4th, 2006, 06:36 AM
When I rake up grass clippings for the compost I make a wide berth around the big ole walnut tree. I usually I leave nature to it's own course and let the walnuts decompose where they fall, but sometimes I rake the whole understory up to the base of the walnut tree. I guess my yard isn't as well kempt as yours, LG! Occasionally I harvest some (run over them in the driveway) to eat. There are places around here to sell them by the truckload - they put them in a dehuller and weigh them hulless - by weight.

October 4th, 2006, 08:56 PM
Aren't black walnut leaves bad for your garden, too?

Lavandula Girl
October 4th, 2006, 09:39 PM
All parts of the black walnut contain juglone, and a lot of plants are affected respiratorily. There are some plants that survive though.

Helen Wong-Joe
October 6th, 2006, 11:40 AM
Ooooh they are so goood! Where I used to work, a gal who has a sister that lives in a farm happens to have a hugh black walnut tree and she would bring me a large bag. I sure missed that, but still remember how delicious they were for my tummy.

October 6th, 2006, 06:43 PM
Around here they pay $13 for 100 pounds hulled weight. I can't see how that could justify the gas people are using to drive around and collect truckbedsful. Must be worth it, though. Lots of folks have come past full to overflowing.

October 13th, 2006, 06:09 PM
Around here retail they are about $5.00 for 8 oz if you are lucky