Her work has appeared in the "American Midland Naturalist" and Greenwood Press. Before harvesting or working with the nuts, put on some heavy duty gardening gloves to protect your hands. Hopefully, it’ll help make your holiday season as special as possible. Keep reading to find out how to harvest walnuts. If you have black walnut trees and harvest the nuts, you have to grab them before the squirrels do. [2] X Research source You may also wish to wear a helmet to protect your head from falling nuts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. They can grow to 100 feet (30 m.) tall and 50 feet (15 m.) across, which makes the tree a bit unmanageable for some landscapes. Csanyi holds a Doctor of Philosophy in biology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Your answer . Walnuts are considered mature, and can be harvested, when you can cut the husk on the outside of the nut free from the branch on which it is growing. As a thank you for joining our campaign, we’ll gift you our brand new eBook,. Native to eastern North America but grown as orchard trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, black walnut trees reach about 70 feet tall. Carolyn Csanyi began writing in 1973, specializing in topics related to plants, insects and southwestern ecology. Black walnuts have a yellow-green husk that turns dark brown as it ages. Both types are fruiting, deciduous trees that are fairly easy to grow and lacking in few serious issues especially once mature. Once you are done harvesting the walnuts, you can eat them right away, but keep in mind they won’t be quite like those purchased ones at the grocers. They seem to know exactly when the nuts are ready. However, rain falling on the nuts will very often crack the husk open, freeing the nut inside to fall to the ground (this usually occurs in October, in most climates). It's usually easy to tell when the nuts are ripe because they will start falling from the tree. From early September to early November is the typical range of walnut harvesting – when the kernels are light in color and they begin to separate from their shells. Every fall when we went to visit my Grandma, she would have us pick up all the walnuts that had fallen to the ground around a big old walnut tree she had in her backyard. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Walnut Production Manual; David E. Ramos, ed. I’m going to share with you a secret on how to harvest black walnuts the easy Grandma way. If drying outdoors, cover the nuts with plastic netting to deter birds. They cast a wide, dense shadow (great for … This entry was posted on November 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. The length of time until complete drying depends on temperature but, generally, will be dry in 3-4 days. That thing was massive, but I was just a kid so maybe it wasn’t as big as I remember. Stir the nuts around on a daily basis to promote drying. To speed things up, be sure to keep the tree well watered through harvest. The nuts will be rubbery in texture and are, thus, usually dried which also extends their shelf life. 02 of 07 The question is, when are walnuts ready to pick and what is the best way to pick walnuts? The Growing of Nut Trees in Zone Nine Areas, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet: Juglans Nigra, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Horticulture & Home Pest News: Harvest, Cracking, and Storing Black Walnuts. Black walnuts are ready to pick when the hull turns yellow and keeps the indentation made when you press firmly on the hull with your thumb. If they lie there too long, they will either begin to mold or become over run with ants, or both. Take your nut samples from as high up in the tree as possible since those that are at this height ripen latest. Wear gloves to protect your hands from stains. To begin harvesting walnuts, you will need a pole or a pole combined with a hook for larger trees. You can eat the shelled nuts, use them in baking, or store them in the freezer. To determine if your nuts are ready for harvest, crack a few open. When are black walnuts ready to harvest? Harvesting and Processing Black Walnuts: In this instructable I will show my first year's process of harvesting and processing black walnuts. How To Harvest Black Walnuts. Store the cured walnuts in a cool, dry area or to extend their shelf life, in the refrigerator or freezer. Black walnuts were popular shade trees, and their wood was highly valued for fine carpentry work. A hundred years ago, no self-respecting, East Coast farm would have been without at least one black walnut tree on the property. The hulls of walnuts contain phenols, chemical compounds that cannot only stain hands but for some people cause skin irritation, so when handling walnuts, wear rubber gloves. Sign up for our newsletter. Black walnuts grow on trees throughout the Midwest. The tough shells are hard to crack, and nutmeats often shatter in the process. Luckily, young trees can be trained via pruning. Michele Warmund is a state fruit extension specialist at the University of Missouri. When ready in the fall, the nuts will just fall to the ground. Black walnuts are usually ready to harvest in the fall. The nuts aren't ready to eat until they have been hulled, washed and dried. Also, if your tree is water stressed, harvesting walnuts will be delayed. Collect nuts … Gathering black walnuts is the easiest part of the process. It's usually easy to tell when the nuts are ripe because they will start falling from the tree. Immediately pick the walnuts up from the ground. Harvesting Walnuts Black walnuts are ready to pick when the hull turns yellow and keeps the indentation made when you press firmly on the hull with your thumb. While picking, hulling, drying and cracking black walnuts (Juglans nigra) is labor intensive, the intense flavor of the prized nutmeats is rewarding. Shake the nuts loose using the pole. I have taken measurements to let you know how much nut meat you can expect to get. Black Walnuts are one of the few crops still picked by hand today. Walnuts may be either English or the black walnut varieties, with the latter having a thicker shell and more intense flavor. Can You Put Pistachio Shells in Composting? Black walnuts are widely known for their tendency to go rancid stored at room temperature (one time someone sent me a 10 lb box of rancid nuts). Native nuts come into maturity September through October. Those that fall to the ground are over ripe and not very tasty. The nuts should show browning of the membrane and loosening of the hull. answer. They can be stored for up to a year in the fridge and for two or more years in the freezer; that is, of course, if you can stay out of them that long. Delay too long and insects and birds may get to the nuts before your do. harvest; black walnuts; asked Jul 20, 2013 by anonymous. The hulls of black walnuts contain an inky substance that will easily stain your skin and clothing. And, how to I get the outer protective "stuff" off to get to the nut? How to harvest, process and store black walnuts. Collect nuts as soon as possible to avoid mold. Wash the hulled nuts and then dry them in a single layer on a smooth, flat, shaded area. 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Think your nuts are ready for harvesting but don’t know the best way to pick walnuts? Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. Rather than picking the nuts from the tree, most home gardeners allow the fruits to fall and pick them up regularly, processing them in small batches. When are black walnuts ready to harvest? They are about two inches in diameter and fall to the ground when they're ready to harvest, which is September to October for most of the United States. I have a black walnut tree in my yard.