Recently I went on a quest to discover the species of my newest friends, Walnut Tree #1, and Walnut Tree #2. (They haven’t told me their names yet, so I’ve assigned my own).
I thought I’d post about my walnut husking adventures herein.
ACK WAIT! Before you start, don’t use ANYTHING to do this that you want to keep for your best guests. This stuff stains EVERYTHING. It even makes stainless steel hard to clean. You’ve been warned.
Aquire a walnut tree, or borrow one from a friend.
Wait until Fall.
Go around your yard every day or two and collect the lemony little citrus tennis balls that will contain your walnuts. Do this, like I said, every day or two, or you will be overcome in a walnut-ocalypse after any windstorms (speaking from experience). They also dry out irrevocably after a few days, so best to avoid this.
SMASH ‘EM!!! I’ve tried this several ways. Two methods stand out. There is the rock-stump method, in which you smash said tennis ball walnuts with a rock on the nearest stump, or the squish-it-with-your-foot method in which you stomp on them on a hard surface until they make a satisfying *pop*, but before you crush the goodness within. (Less stomping, more increasing pressure like a gas pedal). I have been doing too many walnuts, and got into a kind of repetitive strain tendonitis thing (“You’ve made your arm so sore doing what?” – my doctor), so I suggest you try the stomping method. Provided you have shoes you don’t care about in the least, because they will be stained after this, and covered in walnut goo. Pick up your husks and put them in a jar or ziploc in the fridge. (If you’re planning on getting a mess of them, that is. If not, continue on with what you have).
Grab two bowls, a barbecue scraper, rubber gloves and a garden hose. Change into your grubs. Maybe even don safety glasses or a face shield if you have one. This part is messy, and I have many freckles on my face and arms that weren’t there before from walnut juice. This stuff will make your hands black as night. If that’s what you’re going for, then have at ‘er. I prefer a cleaner approach. (You’ll get dirty enough anyways). Have your tools assembled thusly: bowl full of walnuts, hose, scraper, clean bowl.
What I do, is stand on my deck at the railing, and line everything up production-line style. Take a walnut, hose it, and then use the barbecue scraper to get off any extra fibrous stuff. Once you’re done scraping, hose it off again, and place it in the clean bowl. Then hose off your gloves, and everything else, because the goo builds up quickly.
Take your walnut husks, place them in a pot, cover them with water, and boil the crap out of them for 1 hour or more. Try to boil off as much water as possible… it should be a runny tomato sauce consistency, with bits in it of course. Use a potato masher to squeeze all the juice you can out of the bits.