Black Walnuts are beautiful native trees that offer amazing food gifts. We believe their shells are the hardest to crack because they have some of the most amazing foods our native landscape can offer. They are extremely nutritious, being high in protein, healthy fats, and an array of vitamins and minerals. These trees will produce food for decades, to feed the next generation of humans and wildlife. Our black walnuts are from mother trees that are hardy in zone 3.
The nuts are really unique, with an earthy, wild taste, and can be roasted and added to all kinds of deserts, dishes, and flours. They make the best banana bread. The nuts also have a long shelf life once they’re properly dried and can be stored for many years. What other foods could you say the same thing about?! This is food security at a deep level.
We sell our Black Walnut seedlings small because they have a large tap root that can get damaged if they’re transplanted beyond their early years. They grow best in full sun, and in soils with consistent moisture without being water logged. Their chosen natural environment is one within a riparian zone. The trees also exude a chemical called juglones when they’re older that can inhibit growth of other plants around it.
There are some plants that will live beneath the trees, and some that will not. Pine trees, blueberries, apple trees, and tomatoes will all be killed by the Black Walnut eventually. However, currants, elderberry, black raspberries, and hazelnuts will be quite fine growing near the Black Walnut. Keep this in mind when planting. Black Walnut is self fertile, but having more than one tree will ensure better cross pollination and yields. Black Walnut is also prized for it’s hardwood. An acre of mature Black Walnuts can have a $100 000 value for timber.
|Latin name||Juglans nigra|
|Sun Requirements||full sun to part shade|
|Average year to bear fruit||8-14|
|Soil||Deep moist soil|
|Pollination||Self fertile- however more trees increases pollination.|
Harvesting and Processing Tips
If you’re serious about harvesting and processing a lot of black walnuts here’s a few tips and tricks. Fill a bucket of water and add the nuts with their hulls on them into the bucket. Using a corded drill with a paint mixer attachment, mix the nuts in the bucket for 5 or so minutes. The agitation of the paint mixer will remove most of the hulls from the nuts. From there they can be dried. I lay them out on cookie sheets and dry them near a warm spot like a wood stove for a few weeks. For efficient shelling, use the duke nut cracker, or other nut crackers specifically made for the hard shell of black walnut. However, a hammer and a solid flat rock will work in a pinch!