Black Walnut Crackers - Preparation CC
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How I Clean and Process Black Walnuts
AN EXAMPLE ON HOW TO CLEAN BLACK WALNUTS
I start by splitting open the green husks. I either stomp on them in a batch. Or, I press each one them between two boards. A hinge installed on the boards makes this way easy.
Once opened, the husk can be ripped off the nuts. When ripping them apart, I drop the husks in a yard waste bucket and the nuts in a cleaning bucket. Tearing off hulls is easier when nuts are green, or mostly green.
When the bucket is ¼ full of nuts, I fill the bucket with water. I want enough water so the bad (empty nuts) float, while the good (full) nuts sink to the bottom. The floaters get trashed. The keepers stay.
When stirring nuts in the water, the shells scrub themselves clean, removing unwanted husk matter. For extra muscle, I use a power drill with a bucket brush or some other tough stirring tool. I want enough water for smooth stirring, but not too much or the scrubbing action won’t be effective. I stir for a minute and sometimes more depending on how much husk was on them.
I use another bucket with holes in the bottom to strain and rinse the nuts. I wash and rinse them one more time using the drill/bucket method. Or, the nuts cold be blast water from a hose or pressure washer for the clean & rinse task. A very little husk matter with stay in the deep groves on the shell and turn black. That’s ok.
I pour them into a box and also in chicken wire, to dry in the sun. I sometimes use a fan to speed up the process. Or, I pour them in wire cage to clean, rinse and dry them. I use metal wire, because squirrels will steal them when left unattended to dry.
Once the nuts are visually dry and dry to the touch, I put them in netting produce bags. Or for curing a lot of nuts, I will use large wire bags or narrow cages. Nuts need air to cure. When curing, nuts can’t be stacked too thick or deep, or they won’t cure properly.
I hang the bags of nuts in a dry, cool place. I let nuts cure for 4 to 6 weeks.
I store the nuts in the bags or when they are more than fully cured, I store them in covered storage containers.
They are now ready and waiting to be cracked and eaten.