This is a continuation of my previous article Two Nuts Harvesting Nuts In The Fall. You may want to check that article out first if you have not read it yet.
So, it's no secret my husband and I are new to the whole walnut harvesting process. Since my last article I was informed by someone much more experienced with walnut harvesting than myself, that we need not wait to shuck the walnuts. In fact waiting can cause issues we would not want to deal with such as mold, insect habitation, etc.
We in fact did experience some slight mold issues after a rain, which my mother warned me about. Fortunately the walnuts, with husks still on, were only slightly dampened because we got them in within moments of the rain starting to come down.
Still, it did not help matters and the next day, after pulling the walnuts into the garage, we had some slight mold.
Remembering what I had just been told about not having to wait to husk, my husband and I decided we should start husking right away to remove the molded husks, and this is where the work truly began!
If I had thought picking the walnuts up off the ground was work, husking is a whole other thing!
We were lucky that our husks were mostly loose, and easy to get off the walnut shells, but I will warn you, if you have never husked walnuts before, wear gloves!
We wore rubber gloves under our work gloves, because the Juglone in the walnuts will stain everything, and not a stain that is easy to get off either! Reading up on Juglone is interesting and worth learning about if you are going to go through the walnut harvesting process. Especially if you do not want to cause damage to other near by plant life! The Juglone can be toxic to other plant life if not dealt with properly.
Anyway, back to the basics.
We did find some walnuts with worms between the husks and shell of the nut, but this is to be expected, although quite disgusting, so we just thew those few nuts out.
The worms are mealworms, which are small and white.
Yes, I know not very glamorous at all but I spared you photos of the really infested walnuts. Truth is, the food industry allows for a specific amount of meal worm in our processed food we eat every day! Shocking? I suppose to some, but when crops are harvested it is nearly impossible to keep all little critters out of what is produced. Okay enough of that ....
Oh I forgot to tell you, going back to the Juglone, one really cool thing I learned is that you can create a really awesome dye with it! This is something I want to try next year, if we decide to harvest walnuts again. It's worth a google though if you are a DIY person, crafty, or have some free time on your hands to try something new.
The dye creates a very nice earth brown color which is great if you are into camouflage, or just like earth tone clothing like I do.
As much work as it was shucking all of the walnuts, it was enjoyable to just sit outside with my husband working on a project together. It made me think of how close people must have been back in the day when everything required hard work and communication.
It is a tedious process, and best done with someone you enjoy spending time with because just to husk our haul of walnuts took us almost five hours with one short break to run up to our local farmers market for a few treats. I shared that image on Instagram, which I hope you are following me on!
We grabbed something to eat, homemade dog treats for Lyla, and we each had to have an apple cider slush. Drinking the slush took some skill, since our hands we covered in walnut dye.
At the end of the day we had a mess of empty husks, and some mighty fine looking shelled walnuts!
After cleaning up our mess my husband built a cardboard tray to dump all of our husked walnuts into. We learned not to use plastic as we had before to dry the nuts because plastic creates heat, and does not absorb moisture.
This time our nuts are stored under a covered patio, safe from rain. Due to the box not being quite large enough, we will still have to turn the nuts daily to be sure they are getting plenty of air flow, and drying out well.
I will update you in a third and final article about our walnut adventure once we get to cracking them! I am hopeful for success! Wish us luck.
Update: You can now continue on this journey with us by reading the final article Two Nuts Harvesting Nuts In The Fall Part Three.