black walnut curing

Asked October 18, 2017, 11:56 AM EDT

Hi my name is Sandy,
I planted the trees and waited years for them to produce. I have tried twice to harvest and use the nuts but am afraid to eat them. I pick them up and remove the hulls. Then I wash them. The next part is where I am concerned. It's the curing process that confuses me. This year we laid them out to dry. We left them outside and hung them up in onion sacks to dry. I have read about many different ways to cure them and many different amounts of time etc. Temp is a concern of mine and exposure to sun and rain is also. We have since moved them into the basement where it is cooler. I broke some open and most look fine. A few have a little bit of orange or yellow in a few of the meat pieces. What is that? Regardless of when I break them open (Last year after they were hulled, 2 weeks after they have been dried, 2 months of drying) they have a sour odor. Do they always smell this way? Should I bring them into the basement to be hung up right away after I hull them or should I hang them up exposed to the elements outside for awhile 1st? Does it matter? I would appreciate any and all advice because I am not sure what they should be like when they are ready to eat and the strange smell concerns me but something tells me that is just the way they smell. Thank you in advance!

Olmsted County Minnesota black walnuts curing black walnuts

1 Response

The following bulletin explains how to harvest and cure black walnuts. Removing the outer husks is the first step. Then rinse the nuts several times with water to remove debris and any bits of the husk that remain. Spread the wet nuts in a warm dry place where squirrels can't get them and let them cure for two or three weeks.

After that crack a few nuts and test the quality of the nutmeats. They should be dry, crisp, taste good and snap when you break them.

We are not sure what you mean by a strange smell but black walnuts do have a strong, distinctive flavor quite unlike that of English walnuts.