January 17, 2012

Cracking Walnuts

 It might not show too much on the blog, but we eat a lot of walnuts. I'm surprised we haven't lost any teeth yet, because inevitably there's always a shell mixed in. I can't complain too much, though, because I have a great source of free, already picked, walnuts.

My grandparents have walnut trees on their farm & they are always sharing them. Lucky for me, Mom & Dad pick them before they pass some on to me. :-) The contraption above is what Dad uses to crack the walnut shell before picking out the meat.

It's very easy to use & much easier for mass cracking than the hand crackers used for individual eating. Still, it's not a perfect system, so sometimes chunks of the shell find their way into the wrong pile. We always know to chew carefully when our food contains walnuts!


Walnuts grow on trees in big green balls. Inside the green ball is the hard brown shell that we're used to seeing. Once you crack the brown shell, the nut-meat inside is edible. It's amazing how the tree protects its seeds so well!

Both black & English walnuts grow the same way. English walnuts are more commonly found in stores & have a milder flavor. Black walnuts are earthier in taste & have a harder shell. Poppop grows both, but he has more black walnut trees so that's what we usually eat.

File:Black Walnut nut and leave detail.JPG

Seeds are the life line for the tree, so naturally walnuts are chock full of healthy nutrients. They're also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to our health.

Walnuts have been proven to aid in the health of the cardiovascular system, especially the heart. Another great reason to eat walnuts is their antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properites that provide anti-cancer benefits.


Some of my favorite walnut recipes:

Fig & Walnut Biscotti from Michelle

Walnut recipes I think look delicious:


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