Walnuts from the garden must first be dried before they are edible. Find out here how you can best dry the delicious nuts and what you should bear in mind.
Why dry fresh walnuts first?
When harvesting walnuts, the nuts are not picked from the tree, but picked up from the ground. Between September and the end of October, ripe walnuts usually fall from the tree all by themselves. You should then pick them up quickly: If soil moisture penetrates the wooden nut shell, mold will form after a short time.
Walnut harvesting can take a long time, because the nuts do not all fall at the same time. It’s best to check the ground under the walnut tree every day for freshly fallen, ripe nuts that you can pick up.
A walnut tree may well bear up to 130 kg of fruit. If you want to store a large amount of walnuts, you must dry them first. This is the only way to prevent your harvest from spoiling.
Drying walnuts: How to prepare the nuts
After harvesting, you should prepare walnuts as follows:
- Clean: The wooden walnut shell may still be surrounded by the soft outer shell. Remove this thoroughly and completely with a brush, otherwise mold may form. It’s best to wear gloves when working: this will prevent the shell from discoloring the skin on your fingers and hand. (You can find sustainable gardening gloves at **Memolife, for example.) Never clean the walnuts with water, as moisture can cause them to spoil quickly.
- Sort: Dry only unblemished and ripe walnuts. If they have black spots or appear shriveled, this indicates mold or parasites. These walnuts must be discarded.
How to dry walnuts correctly
After these steps, you can dry the walnuts. Pay attention to:
The right temperature: It is best to dry the nuts in a room in the house where the temperature is around 20 °C. An insulated attic or the entrance to the house are suitable. Suitable are, for example, an insulated attic, the boiler room or the entrance to the house. However, make sure that the room is not too warm.
The right place: Dry the walnuts in fruit boxes lined with newspaper. Wooden frames with netting stretched over them are also very suitable.
Enough space: The most important rule when drying: Place the walnuts in only one layer in the fruit box or on the grid and leave enough space between the individual nuts. Make sure that they do not touch each other. Air must be able to circulate around the nuts so they dry evenly and do not form mold.
Sufficient time: walnuts need about 4 to 6 weeks to dry completely. Turn them every few days to make sure they dry evenly. Finally, check to see if the nuts are dry: Open one or two and look closely at their kernels. If it is not brittle, but rather rubbery, the nut is not dry enough yet.
Once the walnuts are dry, you can store them. Fill them in a basket or potato sack and store them in the pantry. There they will stay fresh for up to 12 months.