Healthy and nutritious: Walnuts are real powerhouses and energy packs that also impress with their taste. The popular fruits are used in baked goods, sauces, chutneys and many other dishes. Walnuts do not need to be processed immediately after harvest. With the right strategy, it’s possible to store them for several months without sacrificing flavor. Ideally, this measure begins at the time of harvest. Not every fallen walnut is fit for human consumption. Other important steps include drying the nuts and finding a suitable storage location.
Table of Contents
- Walnut trees do not produce fruit until they are 10 years old.
- 3 to 4 pieces of walnuts cover the daily needs of an adult
- Regular consumption of the nuts reduces the risk of a heart attack by around 20%.
- In hardy regions, the walnut harvest is lower.
- Walnut kernels have a fat content of up to 62%.
- Early frosts before harvest time do not damage the fruit.
Versatile and rich in vitamins
The summer green deciduous trees are impressive plants. With a maximum height of 25 m and a crown circumference of well over 15 m, the tree can dominate its location for several decades. Originally from Iran, Juglans regia reached around the 7th millennium BC. Ch. Central Europe. Our ancestors used the wood and fruits of the trees in many ways. The smooth and hard wood with its characteristic grain was processed by experienced carpenters and was already highly valued at that time. The leaves of the walnut family were the parts of the plant that were most commonly used. In medicine, they were used for external inflammations and complaints of the digestive system. The tannins in the leaves also served as a natural dye for woolen fabrics and yarns.
The delicious walnuts are mainly used in cakes and desserts in the wintry pre-Christmas period. But this purpose does not do justice to the fruits of the Juglans plants. Years ago, scientific studies proved that walnuts have a variety of healthy ingredients. These include, for example:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- pantothenic acid
Experts recommend regular consumption of the nuts to benefit from the cholesterol-lowering effect. Consumption has a more positive effect on LDL cholesterol than, for example, sea fish. If you have a walnut tree in your garden or nearby, you can consider yourself lucky. In some regions, the plants are rarely found. A harvest of several kilograms of walnuts is possible per tree.
Walnuts can contribute a lot to our health and well-being thanks to their valuable and vitamin-rich ingredients. Harvesting and storage play a not inconsiderable role. If mold develops on the nuts, this can lead to aflatoxin poisoning. The harvest season for the vitamin-rich nuts begins in mid-September . In commercial cultivation, this task is carried out by special vibrating and sweeping machines. In the garden, you have to do this task manually. You don’t need a ladder or a net with an extendable telescopic handle. Cutting off the walnuts is counterproductive and damages the tree’s shoots. As soon as the green outer shells burst openand the ripe nuts are released, the ideal time has come. The fruits have developed their full flavor and can be stored . Collect the fallen, ripe walnuts regularly.
- Mow the grass in good time so that you don’t have to look for walnuts in tall stalks
- Check in the morning and late afternoon on rainy days
- do not collect nuts with a black tint
- Wear rubber gloves when harvesting
Be quick. If the nuts are exposed to cold and moisture without their protective shell, fungal pathogens and mold spores can spread quickly. The walnuts become inedible. Incidentally, we are not the only ones who have a soft spot for the tasty inclosure fruits. Also mice and squirrelsappreciate the hard-shelled, protein-rich nuts. Treat the animals to some nuts. At this time of year, squirrels build up their winter stores and mice build up their own body fat reserves. Rotten and stained nuts are disposed of in the compost and should never end up in the kitchen. It is handled differently when caterpillars are found. In many cases, the insects are the voracious offspring of the codling moth. To avoid spreading to other types of fruit, you should dispose of these nuts in the organic waste bin. The rest of the nuts left on the tree are useless and serve as a rich source of food for the animals.
Clean and dry walnuts properly
If the walnuts are not processed immediately, they must be prepared for drying. Fruit and vegetables from the garden are washed generously with water for this purpose. The situation is different with the fruits of the juglan. There is a high probability that the shell is not 100% tight and moisture could get inside. This promotes rot and mold growth, and the shelf life of the walnuts is shortened enormously. The nuts are sufficiently freed from dirt with a rough brush. You can “peel off” large pieces of peel with your fingers beforehand. Wear gloves throughout the cleaning process. Walnuts contain tannic acid, which can cause brown, stubborn stains on the skin. The discoloration cannot be washed off and you have to deal with this skin jewelry for at least 7 days.
Walnuts are tastiest immediately after harvest. When fresh, the thin, white coating of the kernels contains numerous bitter substances and should therefore be removed before consumption.
After the thorough dry cleaning of the incipient fruits, drying is the order of the day. This process takes place in a dry, airy room. The ambient temperature should be between 20 – 25°C . There are undesirable changes in taste if the room temperature rises above 32°C for a long time. It is important to ensure that the walnuts do not touch each other directly and that the fruits are mixed regularly.
The process can take a few weeks. You can finally recognize the success by the weight and appearance of the walnuts. Overall, the involute fruits lose up to 50% of their own weight. Remnants of the peel that are still attached are discolored black and have dried up. The following methods have proven themselves for the drying process:
- Hang the nuts in sacks or nets to dry.
- Newspaper and towels absorb the moisture.
- Stacked in a single layer on grates is efficient and good.
Possible uses for the vitamin-rich fruits can be found quickly. If you want to store walnuts, you have to consider a few things:
- Use special fruit crates for storage.
- Fine nets or jute bags have proven their worth.
- Walnuts can be frozen.
These are just some of the ways you can preserve walnut tree fruit for up to 8 months. The storage location must not have high humidity, so that no germs can settle on the hard shells and thrive. The ideal temperature is therefore between 10 and 15°C. Excessive exposure to sunlight can also have a negative impact on shelf life. The same goes for strong smells. The high fat content in the nuts could accept them and make the fruit inedible. To be on the safe side, store the fully dried nuts in an airtight container. You can tell whether a walnut is still fresh and edible with a simple trick: hold the indeciduous fruit to your ear and shake it.
Walnuts are delicious. Harvesting is easy, because you only have to bend down for the vitamin-rich nuts. The drying and storage measures do not require any special expertise. In this way it is possible to enjoy your own walnut harvest for several months.