Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black Walnuts

The Black Walnuts were clinging for dear life to the branches  of my tree while a family of squirrels rummaged around, knocking their winter stash to the ground. The squirrels have their own little airborn path consisting of giant leaps from one tree to another. The saga of the squirrels in Autumn could be a post all to themselves. For now the objects of my fancy are Black Walnuts. This year I decided to store up my own winter stash.

All too often the nuts left behind by the squirrels have seen the underside of the mower and left to waste. As I harvested the garden this fall I saw no reason why this valuable food source should be left to rot on the ground.This year I put on surgeons gloves and went to work on the tough green husks. Gloves are a must! I was happy to learn this valuable information from the small amount of research I did prior to tackling the project.
First of all, the only way to get the outer layer away from the nut is just bashing the heck out of them with a brick. Secondly, the juice (for lack of a better term) that is associated with the bashing is a bright almost neon yellow that stains like the dickens. Once the outer green layer was conquered I found a small black hard shell that supposedly needed time to dry before cracking. As luck would have it... a special Black Walnut cracker is needed for this.
 I shopped around only to find out the going rate for this tool is approximately $50.00. For as much as I was eager to save this food source I could not see shelling out (pardon the pun) this kind of cash. So, on my kitchen counter sits the rescued harvest still today. I wonder....after three months are they dry enough? Can I just smack them really hard with a cast iron skillet to crack them open? I hope so because, after searching on the internet and scrounging through my cookbooks I have hodge podged together a recipe to use my Black Walnuts tomorrow. Literally I have combined about six different cake and icing recipes to form what I hope will be deliciousness. I'll let you know!

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