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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:49 PM
Original message
Walnuts?
In our back yard we have a walnut tree, and every autumn it dumps hundreds of the little green projectiles onto our lawn. Several nearby squirrels revel in the bounty, but even their hoarding avarice can't make a dent in the sheer volume of walnuts dotting our landscape.

What can I do with the walnuts that the squirrels leave behind? We simply don't have the time or will to liberate all of the nuts from their green hulls, and it seems a real shame to leave them to rot on the lawn.

Would it be terrible if I scooped them up and dumped them in any of the state parks nearby? I mean, would they be eaten by animals that live there? Or would that just be littering?

Any insights are appreciated, of course!

:shrug:
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grannie4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. give them to a food bank or community market
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. For real? Off the ground like that?
The walnuts are still in their green casings--would a food bank take them that way? And how do I know if they're "ripe?"

If so, I'll load up the buckets and cart them off this weekend!
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grannie4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. i've seen people pour them out in their driveway
and drive back & forth over them . there may be people who want them. :shrug:
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. Not littering
besides they're bio-degradable. Wow, you're such a considerate person. I love Dems!
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. I take pecans to a local sheller and freeze em
check out if there's a walnut orchard around and call em

it costs me 50 cents a pound but I get back usable nuts for the whole year.

if you're willing to rake them up and haul them to a park, you'll be able to get the nuts processed cheap I bet.
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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. Spread the wealth
Let other critters enjoy them. Not littering at all.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. No answers for you
I have some walnut trees and they are loaded this year so I think I'll check into selling them. I think one of the local feed stores will buy them. I remember back when I was just a kid we would gather up nuts and sell them and thats who bought them.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
8. Every year I get about a thousand black walnuts in my yard.
I believe they support a small village of squirrels.

They're black walnuts.

For years I've been dumping them in the woods around my house resulting, unsurprisingly, in even more Walnut trees. These trees are alleopaths, and they do cause other plants to die by the way, although we still have lots of species of trees around here in spite of all the walnut trees.

Black walnuts are especially good at killing tomato plants.

I have never eaten one. I always assumed they were rotten because the hulls would turn brown. I'm such a rube.

Recently a neighbor who grew up in a rural town told me that black walnuts are real good eating. His town used to have a festival. One means of removing the green hulls was to leave them in the driveway and drive over them and collect the walnuts afterwards.

I don't know if he was kidding or not.

I plan to eat some this year to find out. Hopefully I won't be killed.

I actually have one neighbor whose yard abutts mine - the other neighbor has about 5 or 10 acres that surrounds my property and is wooded.

She hates trees, especially my walnut tree, because she says that the squirrels stain her sidewalk when they eat the nuts there.

I kid you not.

She wasn't so concerned about his sort of thing when her cats used to shit in my kid's sandbox, of course, but I'm secretly thrilled that many of my walnuts fall in her yard.

The squirrels seem to have brought a lot of oaks down my way, bless their bushy little tails. We had 15 or 20 sprout this year and I'm hoping a few will take. We have a few survivors in spite of some drought in late summer.

Our squirrels and rabbits support a pretty decent population of owls. We had a very, very, very cool hawk hanging around this summer, but I haven't seen him or her in a while.

We don't have as many mice as we used to have. Probably it has to do with the local population of feral cats. The hawks eat those too, I suspect.

My advice: Let the walnuts be. They're great for life.

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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. As a kid I spent many hours hammering the green outer shells off the hard casing of the walnut, and
then picking the walnut meats out of the hammered shells. It's a time-consuming process because the nutmeats are trapped in such a convoluted pattern inside the shells, you have to nearly pulverize them to get all the good stuff out.

And your hands will be stained brown for weeks. Craft dyers use walnuts for one of their most common brown dyes. I've seen black walnut ice cream and wonder how the nuts are shelled commercially.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Every year around here on the 4th of July we have colonial re-enacters at Washington Crossing
Park (PA side).

These people are fabulous - really fabulous - and they spin yarn, dye it, everything.

They can explain the sources of very dye - all of which were natural in Colonial times. The black walnut was a very important source of cloth dye in those days.
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Black walnuts have the best taste of all of the walnuts
But they have such a hard shell that specialized equipment is needed to crack them.

Hulls on all walnuts are at first green and commercially they are all shaken down from the trees and then swept up in big vacuum cleaner things and dropped into storage bins.

First they go to a dehuller who has machines that remove the hulls (if they still have them after going through the big sucking machines) and then they get cracked out (the meat or seed is separated from the shell).

Most cracking out equipment is unable to crack the fabulous black walnuts, but a few are. Or you can use hydraulic equipment.

The walnuts of both the Black and English walnuts often fall off in one's yard and this does not make the walnut inside any less safe to eat. If the navel orangeworm has gotten into the walnut, well, you will see it and the frass and then you won't want to eat it. Plus there are some viable fungal attackers as well.

All are safe to eat after falling on the ground- this is how the walnut growers harvest them.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. I picked a pecan up off the ground in the garden and ate it
My mom was APPALLED, just APPALLED that I would eat something off the ground like that.

It was delicious. :9
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-20-08 05:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. Sounds like a money tree to me
I buy walnuts regularly for the granola I make for my morning breakfast and the price of walnuts has about doubled over the last year. You could make some nice change on the side with that tree I think :)

Seriously though the suggestions above to share the wealth seem the obvious choice to me if the foodbank does take such things (they should IMHO) then that's a very nice idea.

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-20-08 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
14. As another veteran childhood walnut sheller
I say they are more trouble than they are worth unless you have the right equipment.

The green husks need to be removed as soon as they fall. This can be done by spreading them on a gravel drive and riding over them with a car or (I've heard) a corn husker works too. Dry them for couple of months in a dry well ventilated place. From there is is tedious hard work with a hammer, a hard surface to hammer on, and a nut picker. It takes a lot of practice to get the knack of breaking the shell without crushing everything inside.

There are machines that do the job also, but be sure to examine final product for trace shells as they can easily crack teeth.

Black walnuts are absolutely delicious in various cakes and breads.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
15. I ate some. It's a lot of work to get at the meat of the nut, but they are, in fact, quite tasty.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
16. Just a thought, but if you have a wood stove...
It might be interesting to see how they burn.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-08 10:59 PM
Response to Original message
17. If they are black walnuts, HARVEST THEM AND SELL THEM!!!!
They are worth their weight in gold, almost, and serious foodies will knock you down for them.

Maybe just put an ad on Craigslist when they start to ripen and let them be free for the taking.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-22-08 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
18. sell them
I was paid $0.10 per pound (w/ hull on) and got a cool $20 for about an hour & a half of work. Thats good money when your 10!
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