Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:03 am

This begs the question for the experts on black walnuts...

We have a LARGE black walnut tree in our back yard with a good number of nuts on it! I have never harvested these nuts in the past, but it has been dropping them all summer this year. How can you tell when the nuts on the tree are "ripe" or not. When I opened one of the nuts that were on the ground, all I found was a shriveled up, leathery "nut" to speak of. What does a black walnut look like? Is this just a function of the nuts falling too early? What could be wrong with the tree that is drops the walnuts so early?

The squirrels LOVE this tree and I find walnut shells and rind all over my yard and fences... I would just like to be able to eat a couple of black walnuts myself...

Thanks folks!

Mike in La Crosse, WI

Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:09 am

Mike, we wait until the nuts drop from the tree and until the green hull becomes black in color. This is not a problem when one has several trees but with just a single tree the squirrels may collect the nuts before you do. Dan

Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:22 am

That is what I did with the nuts I cracked open, but all I found was a piece of "leather" inside the shell. No nut... Maybe these just fell too early and haven't developed well enough yet...

Does the Black variety look like the type you buy at the store in a bag? Remember, I am a city boy...this harvesting nuts thing is new to me!


Mike in La Crosse, WI

Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:43 am

Inside of the nut, the meats consist of two halves connected by a small bridge of nutmeat. Imagine placing your two hands, palms facing each other, about an inch apart. The two halves will be broken into pieces during their removal from the nut. These pieces are what you buy in the store. Occasionally, one will crack the nut and find that the nutmeat has not develolped completely. This is probably the leather-like substance which you are finding. Hope this helps. Dan

Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:41 pm

On picking up walnuts. Some of the nuts will fall off the tree early. Wait until September or so before harvesting. Pick up only the full sized nuts with the green husk.

Quite frequently I find walnuts from the previous season laying on the ground. These are not good for anything. Along with the permature nuts that dropped early.

After harvesting and hulling we would let the nuts air dry for a month or two before cracking.

There are a number of retired people who crack and pick walnuts then sell the nuts by the pint or quart.


Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:30 pm

wow! i didnt know that someone could bring thier walnuts for hulling! does anyone know of a place in northeast ohio that can provide this hulling service? i have 5 walnut trees and my hands get real stained at the end of september.

Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:38 pm

Rudi wrote:Any way I can get some of them for planting??? Boy.. some American Black Walnut trees.. wow!

2 great sides to that coin...

Walnuts.. we all love em..

2 off cuts from pruning.. dry em and wafer them.. sure make some nice inlays :!: :!: :!:

Unfortunately, all the American Black Walnut we had here, got taken by the Brits to export back to the old country way back when.. there is next to no walnut trees native to NB anymore.. what a shame..

Rudi it takes 15 to 18 years for them to bare nuts at least thats how long mine took down here

Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:43 pm Then go to hulling locations.

In this area. The hullers will hull a gunny sack or two free for you if you sell them walnuts. You need to take your own sacks.

A hand crank corn sheller does a great job hulling walnuts.


Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:13 pm


With the new plumbing job...
I plan on being around a while.. so a small thing like 20 years is no big deal :!: :arrow: :wink: 8) :lol: :lol:

Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:33 am

If any one wants black walnuts let me know we have about 6 trees here with an over a boundance of them. If you want me to rake some up when they fall this year and throw them in a flat rate box I would be glad to. If you want them hulled well thats a different story. I was kicked out of school when I was a kid becuase I came in with my hands stained with black walnut juice from hulling. They sent me to the janitor and he tryed everything to get it off and could not so they suspended me fopr three days. If it was today I would have sued them. Jerks. I used it to boil traps in when I was a kid.

Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:48 am


Are you going to be able to come to Cecil's next month?

Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:04 pm

I am still hoping. But it may just be for one day.

Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:11 pm


The reason I ask is that Rudi would like some walnuts to eat and to plant. If you and I each bring some, he'd have plenty. :)

Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:11 pm

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm :!: :!: :!: 8) :lol: 8) :lol: :D :D :lol:

Walnuts.. friends, Cubs... Turkey... oh,my, oh my oh my.. what a weekend this is going to be :!: :!: :!:

Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:19 pm

I'm not gonna hull 'em for ya Rudi. You can get your own hands black. :D