I have walnut trees, and processed them a couple of years ago, but I don’t remember exactly what I did. I think I dried them in my dehydrator whole, then shelled, then brined, then dried again before freezing. They turned out great. Is it necessary to dry them whole first (in the dehydrator) before I shell them? I will freeze them to store, and use for baking and eating by the handful. What is the correct ratio of salt to water for brining? Any tips for shelling more easily?
Columbia County Oregon
Hello and thank you for submitting your question to Ask an Expert - a FREE service of Oregon State University Extension!
We have a great publication that can help you with your walnut project. See: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/documents/12281/harvesting-handling-storing-nu...
If you shell your walnuts first, it will be quicker and take less energy to dry them. Most people dry them with the shell still on, though. This is probably because shelling can be such a pain so they are putting off the task until later. As far as shelling them more easily...some people report using a carpenter's vise (the kind that is attached to a workbench so you can get good leverage). This may be a little easier than the hammer method which can be tricky as the walnuts tend to roll all over the place. If you develop a great method of shelling let us know! We get lots of questions about that this time of year!
As for brining, its not required and can be altered based on your own taste. The California Walnuts industry organization does have this recipe for spiced, brined walnuts. https://walnuts.org/recipe/orange-bay-and-spice-brined-walnuts/ The ratio here is 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of water, which I've also seen listed for Pistachios. Anyway, the recipe looks amazing, and I assume they know what they are doing.
Best of luck to you,
Thank you so much, Jenny R! Finished my first batch (of probably 30 more) last night. They are wonderful!