Walnuts taste good and are healthy. Walnut wood is one of the most noble and expensive woods. But especially in the hope of a rich harvest of tasty nuts, walnut trees are often found in large gardens. Harvesting is easy, the ripe fruits fall to the ground and only need to be collected. Why is it necessary to wash the fresh walnuts? How to succeed in cleaning?
The walnut tree (Juglans regia) belongs to the walnut family (Juglandaceae). Its range extends from the Balkan countries to Central Asia. In Central Europe, walnut trees are native mainly to wine-growing areas.
Walnut trees grow to be very old. Two-hundred-year-old specimens with growth heights of up to thirty meters are known. Smaller trees also produce substantial crop yields.
The shell of the nuts is green and fleshy. It contains a dark brown juice that stains strongly. As the fruit ripens, the hull becomes more brownish and shriveled. In September, the hull cracks open, revealing the nut, and the walnut harvest begins. Pick the ripe fruit each day to prevent rotting. The walnut harvest continues for several days and weeks. Do not attempt to knock the nuts off the tree. They are not truly ripe until they fall to the ground on their own.
Tip: If you want to harvest walnuts, be sure to wear gloves to avoid discoloration with the brown juice of the fruit shell.
Did you know that walnuts were considered a symbol of fertility in ancient times? They were distributed at weddings among the guests and in the bride and groom’s bedchamber. This ritual promised a happy marriage with many children.
Remove fruit peels
Remove the remains of the fruit shells from the nuts. Use gloves and also protect your clothes from the highly staining tannins. A brush with hard bristles is suitable for thoroughly removing the shells.
After harvesting, the nuts must be sorted well. Only undamaged nuts are suitable for storage. Sort out the fruits with the following characteristics:
- black discolorations
- visible damages
- nuts rattling when shaken
Dispose of damaged specimens in household waste and not in the compost. Diseases could otherwise spread to other plants.
Clean walnuts After Harvesting?
Thoroughly cleaning is essential if you want to enjoy your harvest. We explain why:
- Ripe walnuts that have fallen from the tree show heavy soiling. These may have been caused by the shell or by pests or diseases. Only thorough cleaning allows the distinction to be made. Natural dirt can be removed, but nuts infested by pests must be disposed of immediately.
- Dirt may contain moisture and lead to mold growth. Mold spores from a single nut can spread to the entire crop in no time.
- After drying, dirt is more difficult to remove, it literally dries with it. Cleaning directly after harvesting is easier.
- Clean nuts simply look more aesthetic, and for this reason alone, cleaning is indispensable. After all, the Christmas platter should contain undamaged, flawless nuts from your own garden.
The question of whether to wash freshly harvested walnuts has preoccupied lovers of self-harvested nuts for years. We advise against washing with water. There is no guarantee that the nuts will be 100 percent undamaged and tight. Even small amounts of water that penetrate the shell or fruit during washing can lead to rot or mold. It is important to completely remove fruit peel debris and contamination. Thorough cleaning with a hard brush is sufficient for this.
Drying is just as important as cleaning.
The cleaned nuts are dried in a dry room at a temperature of about 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. The nuts lie on grates during this process. Make absolutely sure that the walnuts do not touch each other during drying. Turn the nuts regularly during drying. Drying can take several weeks.
Sufficiently dry fruit can be recognized by the fact that it weighs only half of the initial weight.
The well-dried nuts can be stored for several months in fruit boxes, nets or jute bags.
Good storage conditions:
- temperature between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius
- low humidity
- dark room
- no sunlight