How To Harvest Black Walnuts
Learning how to harvest black walnuts properly is a simple process which will ensure that only ripe nuts with the best possible flavor are harvested. After you harvest the black walnuts, they will need to be cured and prepared for storage.
This is how to harvest black walnuts when ripe:
- Allow black walnuts to ripen on the tree. Black walnuts in difficult to reach places may be left to collect after they fall off the tree.
- Wear gloves to harvest black walnuts. Walnut juice will leave dark stains which can be avoided by wearing gloves when harvesting them.
- Examine black walnuts for ripeness. The husk of black walnuts changes from dark green to a greenish yellow color. The husk will begin to dry and crack as it opens. Black walnuts are ripe when an indent is left after pressing firmly on the walnut husk.
- Remove black walnuts from the tree. The ripe walnuts can be easily removed with the husks in place. Place the walnuts in a dry bucket or basket until you are finished harvesting for the day.
- Remove black walnut husks. The dye in husks will stain clothing, tools and other items. Remove husks in an area that will not be damaged by stains. Pound the husks with a hammer to crack and remove them. Wear safety glasses to prevent eye injuries.
- Wash and cure black walnuts. Thoroughly wash walnut shells to remove any remaining husks and dye. Place the walnuts on shallow trays, no more than two or three nuts deep. Allow the black walnuts to set undisturbed in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight for two weeks. Walnuts are properly cured and ready for storage when the nut is crisp and snaps when broken.
Resource: University of Minnesota: Yard and Garden