Walnuts taste good and are healthy. Walnut is one of the finest and most expensive woods. Walnut trees are often found in large gardens mainly in the hope of a bountiful harvest of tasty nuts. Harvesting is easy, the ripe fruits fall to the ground and you just have to pick them up. Why do you have to wash the fresh walnuts? How does the cleaning work?

The walnut

The walnut tree (Juglans regia) belongs to the walnut family (Juglandaceae). Its range stretches from the Balkans to Central Asia. In Central Europe, walnut trees are primarily native to wine-growing regions.
Walnut trees grow old. Bicentennial specimens with growth heights of up to thirty meters are known. Even smaller trees bring considerable crop yields.

Harvest walnuts

The shell of the nuts is green and fleshy. It contains a dark brown, strongly coloring juice. The riper the fruit becomes, the browner and more shriveled the skin becomes. In September, the shell bursts open, releasing the nut and the walnut harvest begins. Pick up the ripe fruit each day to prevent rot build-up. The walnut harvest lasts for several days and weeks. Don’t try to knock the nuts off the tree. They are only really ripe when they fall to the ground on their own.

Tip: If you want to harvest walnuts, you should definitely wear gloves to avoid discoloration with the brown juice from the fruit husk.

Did you know that walnuts were already considered a symbol of fertility in ancient times? They were distributed among the guests at weddings and in the bedroom of the bridal couple. This ritual promised a happy marriage with many children.

Remove fruit skins

Remove the remains of the fruit skins from the nuts. Use gloves and also protect your clothing from the strongly staining tannins. A brush with hard bristles is suitable for thorough removal of the shells.

Note: Be careful not to damage the nut shell with strong pressure when cleaning. Cracks are entry points for moisture.

sort by

After harvesting, the nuts must be carefully sorted. Only undamaged nuts are suitable for storage. Sort out the fruits with the following characteristics:

  • Schimmel
  • black discoloration
  • visible damage
  • pests
  • nuts rattling when shaken

Dispose of the damaged specimens in the household waste and not on the compost. Diseases could otherwise be transmitted to other plants.

Dry cleaning or washing walnuts?

Thorough cleaning of the Juglans regia fruits is essential if you want to enjoy your harvest. We explain why:

  1. Ripe walnuts that have fallen from the tree are heavily soiled. These can be caused by the shell or by pests or diseases. Only thorough cleaning allows the distinction to be made. Natural dirt can be removed, nuts infested with pests must be disposed of immediately.
  2. Dirt can contain moisture and lead to mold growth. The mold spores from a single nut can spread to an entire crop in no time at all.
  3. After drying, dirt is harder to remove, it literally dries up with it. Clean-up right after harvesting is easier.
  4. Clean nuts simply look more aesthetic, for this reason alone cleaning is essential. After all, there should be undamaged, flawless nuts from your own garden on the Christmas plate.

The question of whether freshly harvested walnuts should be washed has occupied lovers of self-harvested nuts for years. We do not recommend washing with water. There is no guarantee that the nuts are 100 percent undamaged and tight. Even small amounts of water getting into the skin or fruit during washing can cause rot or mold. The complete removal of fruit peel residues and dirt is important. Thorough cleaning with a hard brush is sufficient for this.

Drying is just as important as cleaning.


The cleaned nuts are dried in a dry room at a temperature of around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. The nuts lie on gratings. Make absolutely sure that the walnuts do not touch each other during drying. Turn the nuts regularly while they are drying. Drying can take several weeks.

You can recognize sufficiently dry fruit by the fact that they only weigh half of their original weight.

To store

The well-dried nuts can be stored in fruit crates, nets or jute bags for several months.

Good storage conditions:

  • Temperature between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius
  • low humidity
  • dark room
  • no sun exposure

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