If you have space in your greenhouse, you could dry them inside on a table or screen. What better reason to grow your own? Store the nuts in your fridge for three to four months. Once the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches in height, pull out the seedling that's the smallest and thinnest. Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer and environmental freelance writer with more than twenty years experience of living a simple life close to nature. Apply enough water to moisten the dirt to a depth of at least 3 inches. You’ll want to remove the outer green hull as soon as possible (if it hasn’t already come off naturally on its own). His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. Only do this if they are very dirty. You may need to let your hand-harvested walnuts sit for a month or so to let them dry out further. Once you are done harvesting the walnuts, you can eat them right away, but keep in mind they won’t be quite like those purchased ones at the grocers. Don’t forget that walnut oil can be pressed at home too. With what we store from year to year, I haven't had to buy walnuts since 2014. A pitted shell encases a fibrous, leather sheath that splits as the nuts begin to ripen in the fall and indicates that walnut tree harvesting is nigh. Alternatively, your attic, garage, porch or any clean, semi-outdoor space is ideal. And if a neighbor is offering to let you pick theirs, go for it and harvest as much as you can fit in your baskets and buckets. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Though you can sometimes buy black walnut seedlings in nurseries, save money by collecting and growing a black walnut tree from nuts. English walnuts trees grow best in … The way to extend the life of your walnuts is to refrigerate or freeze them. Take your nut samples from as high up in the tree as possible since those that are at this height ripen latest. With time the flavor will mellow, and become the walnut you know and love. Don't grow your black walnuts near your garden or any desirable vegetation. All Rights Reserved. They can be stored for up to a year in the fridge and for two or more years in the freezer; that is, of course, if you can stay out of them that long. The nuts will be rubbery in texture and are, thus, usually dried which also extends their shelf life. Point is to keep excess moisture off and stir them often to promote drying. Black walnut trees produce a chemical called juglone that kills nearby plants, according to Purdue University. Freddy Guys Hazelnuts. The question is, when are walnuts ready to pick and what is the best way to pick walnuts? Keep in mind that walnut trees can grow to enormous proportions, and it is not uncommon for a tree to reach 80, even 100 feet! If walnuts are falling near you, go out and harvest as much as you are prepared to eat and store – knowing that store-bought walnuts will cost you so much more. Not to mention the fact that walnuts spread their branches outwards, covering quite a bit of ground, as much as 50 feet across. English walnuts are full of nutritious fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins that support a nature-based lifestyle. The texture crisp and rubbery. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Depending on where you live, the leaves of the walnut tree may already be turning yellow as they begin to drop their delicious nuts. One other thing to remember when collecting walnuts: don’t leave walnuts sitting on the ground for too long. Store the cured walnuts in a cool, dry area or to extend their shelf life, in the refrigerator or freezer. English walnuts have a thinner shell that is easy to crack, even without a nutcracker. Once you have harvested the walnuts, hull the nuts using a pocket knife. Additionally, if you delay too long, the outer husks become soft and black and the resulting nut has a bitter, rancid flavor. Luckily, young trees can be trained via pruning. Walnuts may be either English or the black walnut varieties, with the latter having a thicker shell and more intense flavor. At this point, the kernels are light in color and the membrane between the halves has turned brown. Generally it is wise to wait with cracking them until you are ready to use them, though sometimes you will want a snack that is ready to eat right now. If drying outdoors, cover the nuts with plastic netting to deter birds. For the best results, grow nuts collected from black walnut trees growing in your area. This softens the nuts' husks. You can’t go more low-tech than a wooden nutcracker “mushroom”. Autumn is spectacular season, full of pumpkin pies, apple fritters and quince cheese. Use a knife to peel back a portion of the husk, then peel off the rest with your hand. That being said, walnuts in their shells can keep for 3 years! Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! These nuts will germinate and grow better than nuts that aren't used to your region's climate and soils, according to North Dakota State University. Step 1 Gather some walnuts as soon as they have fallen off a tree and remove the husks. Bury two nuts in each planting spot, sinking the nuts an inch under the soil surface and separating them by a couple of inches. The ability to dry your walnuts depends on the humidity, just as much as it does on the temperature. We gather the fresh nuts in a bucket after they fall to the ground. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Keep reading to find out how to harvest walnuts. Follow on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter for more inspirations on living a sustainable life. Their land and their life’s work is aptly named ForestCreekMeadows. Corky’s is taking preorders now for the 2020 harvest — hurry, though, because they always sell out. Because walnut trees grow very large and must reach maturity outside, make sure an English walnut tree will grow well in your area by checking your hardiness zone. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening. Bury two nuts in each planting spot, sinking the nuts an inch under the soil surface and separating them by a couple of inches. Gathering the Nuts. Sign up for our newsletter. Perhaps one of the best things about walnuts is that they will appear year after year, with little input from you. Currently she is homesteading in northern Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter. When left on the soil/grass for too long, they are susceptible to mold during rainy and damp weather. For the best results, grow nuts collected from black walnut trees growing in your area. Shake the nuts loose using the pole. It all started at a young age with a love for the outdoors, followed by a keen interest in goats, which turned into a love for raising ducks and mangalica pigs on the Plains of Hungary. Store-bought nuts will pale by comparison in flavor, so look down at the ground and pick up a few nuts each and every time you go out on a walk. Be forewarned, it is not as simple as tossing them in a bag in the back of a closet and forgetting about it till walnut cookies are in season. It is a practical, useful and necessary ability to master, and it will come in handy when you must save walnut leaves for both tea and herbal hair rinses. Collect nuts from beneath a black walnut tree. The black walnut tree (Juglans nigra) is native to the midwestern and eastern U.S. and is prized for its hardy growth--the tree thrives in even sandy or clay soils, according to the University of Wisconsin--and its high-quality lumber. Store the nuts in your fridge for three to four months. Depending upon the variety and region they are grown in, walnut tree harvesting starts from early September to early November. Plant the nuts. Good, viable nuts will sink to the bottom. The easiest and most efficient way of storing walnuts is in their shells. Immediately pick the walnuts up from the ground. Ants and other critters may also be interested in the fallen “fruit”. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. To begin harvesting walnuts, you will need a pole or a pole combined with a hook for larger trees. Wash the hulled nuts and then dry them in a single layer on a smooth, flat, shaded area. At first, fresh walnuts will be very moist and tight in their shells. You can plant many black walnut trees in a grove to protect the soil and water resources. In order to access all that carefully harvested and dried nutmeat, you had better invest in a good nutcracker to make the extraction process the most pleasurable possible. You can dry them outside on the ground in a single layer, so long as the sun is shining and nighttime temperatures are agreeable, though you may need to cover them with a plastic net to deter walnut scavenging birds.