Black Walnut Crafts and Nut Meats
The hulls are different in different stages. First it is a hard outer covering, almost like a tennis ball. It has a light, lemony scent, plus there is a pleasant flavor if you lick them. Supposedly, when they are very young, they are picked and crushed and placed into Vodka for a nut schnapps drink. I can imagine that the schnapps is quite delicious, however, the brown teeth would be a drawback. Certainly, no bigger a threat than coffee, as to staining teeth brown perhaps.
The first nuts, second nuts, and end nuts, are sought after by squirrels. In the early summer, they chew a hole through the side of the nut and drink the nut milk. It's like a coconut in the early stages. As the nut ages, the milk solidifies.
The outside when allowed to deteriorate, becomes a home for maggots. Then, as it progresses, the outer hull turns into an endometrium lining-like root system for allowing the inner nut to germinate. As the nut lays on the ground, it begins to bond with Mother Earth and pulls itself deeper and deeper into the crust. Roots begin to form and a shoot appears. A tree!
The outside, when not allowed to progress to germination, is collected and mixed in a pan with vinegar to make ink, or brown stain for use in coloring blonde woods like pine.
The hull will stain your hands. Although, I have found that liquid Oops does remove the brown color, so you can safely insert yourself back into your normal routine, nobody the wiser that you have been elbow deep in walnuts.
Inside the husk, is a hard shell that protects the inner baby from destruction. The shell is hard.
The shell is quite beautiful when sliced. Quite useful for many crafts. Uses that I am aware of are Christmas tree ornaments, crosses, necklaces, earrings, belts, pine needle baskets, wreaths, and birds. Birds? Yes. I made a 3D bird using a form and glue.
A Turtle That I Created
Over the years, many people have used the nutmeats in baking. Apparently, the nutmeats are quite good for you. They are somewhat difficult to obtain, since the shells are so hard. Some of the methods used to obtain nut meats that I have heard of are:
- driving over nuts with a heavy object, like a car
- cutting with a bandsaw using a plyers to hold
- hitting with a heavy hammer
- putting in a strong vice and crushing
- slicing in a sawmill
Yes. I have seen all of these methods used at some point.
The nutmeats are used in cookies, fudge, cakes and just hand to mouth eating. The flavor is an acquired taste, as the nutmeats have a strong flavor. But, once you develop a taste for them, they are sought after.
As I slice, I find that I have a lot of hull that I don't know what to do with. I'm tempted to bag it up and, ship it to who ever needs some. I'm going to build furniture and other crafts with the nut slices that I have.