Thursday, September 08, 2016


My neighbor encourages me to harvest the dropped black walnut shells from around her tree. I take about half, and leave the other half for our fuzzy little squirrel friends.

Have to give two thumbs down for how much it hurts to hand-shell the thick and gooshy outer shell away so that the hard-as-nails inner shell can dry out. Did it in the sink, using mostly my thumbs, and now they are ouchie-oochie. The inner shells are on racks in the basement for two weeks:

Then, when a good football game is on TV, I will crack each one with a hammer, trying my best to avoid the aforementioned thumbs. Then I will snip off remaining hard shell parts with wire cutters. That's how you extract the most lovely black walnut nutmeats. Time-consuming? Certainly. Worth it? Oh, yes.

Black walnuts thus harvested will keep in the freezer for two years. But they will probably last only 'til December. Then it will be time to make my favorite Christmas cookies: black walnuts in the sugar-cookie dough, rolled in powdered sugar, and baked to warm perfection. Mmmmmm! By then, my thumbs will have recovered, too -- I hope.

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