How to Harvest and Preserve Black Walnuts
Do you have black walnut trees nearby? See how to take advantage of this foraged food by learning when to harvest and how to hull, cure, and store black walnuts.
Prep Time1 hr
Curing Time14 d
Total Time14 d 1 hr
Gather black walnuts from beneath the trees. Grab walnuts that are still mostly green to brown. Avoid black, moldy, or rotten nuts that look like they have been on the ground for a while.
Remove the outer husk. Wear old clothing and gloves to protect from staining. Smash the walnuts to break the skin, and peel off as much of the husk as you can.
Wash the hulled black walnuts in clean water. Scrub with a brush to remove the remaining husk and juice. Discard walnuts that float.
Spread the washed black walnuts out in a single layer, and let the nuts cure in a cool, dry area, out of sunlight, for at least two or three weeks.
Test the black walnuts to check if they are finished curing. Shake the nuts. You should hear the nut rattling in its shell. Crack one and taste it. If the shells are brittle and the nutmeat firm, they are cured.
Store the cured black walnuts in their shell in mesh bags or baskets in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Shell the black walnuts as needed for recipes.
Once the walnuts are cracked, store the nutmeat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for six months, or freezer for up to a year.
You'll need to crack about two pounds of black walnuts in the shell to yield about one cup of walnut meat.