Adventures in Foraging: Part 2

Posted on October 5, 2011


Accomplice 1 and I enjoying going out into the “wilderness” seeking edibles.  Our most recent endeavor was the gathering of walnuts, English walnuts to be precise.  It came to our attention that there were a great number of abandoned and heavily laden trees at an undisclosed location in our general area.  As is our tendency, we decided that we needed to procure some.

Within just a few minutes we had gathered two large bags of nuts.

Now that we had our nuts, there was one big question.  How could we remove the hulls with a minimum of time, effort, swearing, and weird brown stains?  (Walnut hulls, even English ones, will dye whatever they come into contact with a dark blackish brown.)  Accomplice 1 bravely set out into the internet, looking for the perfect solution.  This is what we decided to try:

It may not look like much, but this holey board saved us a lot of work.  To make your own just get a decent sized piece of board, something thick enough to stand up to repeated hammer blows, and drill two holes in it.  One should be about an inch wide, and the other about 2 inches.  Then all you have to do is set your nut on top of one of the holes (Ours were fairly large so we only used the big one.)  and hit it with a hammer.  The hull will pop right off and any pieces that remain peel away easily.  Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty.  Some of the hulls have more juice than others, and a hammer blow will splatter it all over.  Also, walnut juice in the eye stings- just ask Accomplice 1.




Repeat the process until you run out of nuts or patience.  Don’t forget to wear gloves!



Eventually we had successfully hulled all of our nuts.  The next step was washing them.  I didn’t have time on the night of the hulling, so they got to dry out a bit before the washing process began.




When I added water the walnuts immediately turned it an unappealing shade of deep blackish brown.  I tried stirring the nuts with a large spoon, rinsing them repeatedly, and even scrubbing a few by hand.  Every fresh sink of water turned the same color within a few minutes.  Eventually, I gave up.  The nuts are currently drying on a black towel in my apartment.  I’ve decided that shiny clean hulls are overrated, since I’m just going to crack them all open anyway.

Stay tuned for nut cracking updates…