|Wednesday What’s New: Black Walnuts in Season|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 15 September 2010|
Fall means it’s time to harvest black walnuts—if you are into foraging for food that is. Black walnuts are native to the US, but did you know that 65 percent of the black walnut harvest comes from Missouri? Or that October is National Black Walnut Month? Neither did I until recently.
That’s right. According to Brian Hammons, President of Hammons Products Missouri’s black walnut trees are the source of 65% of the global black walnut harvest. Black walnuts are used as a food ingredient because of their stronger flavor. In other words, those bags of walnuts on the store shelves are going to be English walnuts, not black walnuts.
I started thinking about black walnuts the other day because I was about to make a batch of pesto with the basil in my garden, but realized I had run out of pine nuts. Walnuts are a common substitute for pine nuts, but alas a quick scan of my cupboards quickly revealed I had run out of walnuts as well.
So I started thinking about foraging for black walnuts since I happen to know a place where they are plentiful…which led me to wonder whether black walnuts are edible. After a bit of research I discovered that they certainly are, but there is a catch.
Apparently the shells are so hard that I would need a sledgehammer to crack the shells open. I’ll be heading out soon to gather up those black walnuts and test whether this is actually true, but in the meantime I’m going to stock up on pine nuts. I have a bumper crop of basil this year and a lot of pesto to make!
Photo source: www.wildmanstevebrill.com