We have black walnuts trees all over the property.  Where they fall on the driveway, we drive over them until all the black covering is gone (although we have dyed clothes and hands with them in years past).  Once uncovered, we use a cast iron nut cracker to crack them.  We used to use a hammer and then carefully pick little pieces of walnut from the crushed shells.  Black walnut shells are very very hard, which is why we can use the cars to strip them and had to use a hammer to crack them.  No sissy nutcracker for black walnuts.  But the reward is great.  Black walnuts have such a distinct aroma—other walnuts smell like rosemary to me, but black walnuts…they smell like toasted butter but deeper and a little bitter.  They are like truffles, an indescribable order but intoxicating just the same.

Black walnut trees are deadly to plants around them.  You can’t plant a garden anywhere near them.  Their roots exude a toxin that kills most annuals and many perennials so you have to choose between them quickly—a black walnut will put down roots in one year deep enough to murder your perennial border.

When I was younger (ok, even now), I try to crack the walnuts in our Christmas nuts exactly done the middle so that I would have two perfect halves.  Then I carefully dug out the meat to preserve the shell.  I filled the shells with tiny shells, pebbles, herbs, bits of wool yarns and then glued them together and gave them as charms to family members.  I don’t know what they thought of these little gifts, but my son, not knowing of this penchant, did the same for me when he was 12.  Must be something about walnuts.


3 Responses to “Walnuts”

  1. Anita Marie Says:

    Do you know what I like about Walnut Trees? They’re bad, really bad. They’re like the Rebels of the Plant Kingdom.

  2. Heather Blakey Says:

    There IS something about walnuts.

  3. FairyRainbow Says:

    I brought back some nutcrackers from New York, but am afraid none of cast iron…too heavy for my overloaded suitcases already. (>:

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