Black Walnuts and First Frost
Black Walnuts Make for Great Cakes
Old Cuz has been busy today. We had our first frost of the season and it looked like a young snow in the fields beside my house but not as big as some soon to follow where one might be able to track a rabbit if'n he took a notion. I''m amazed at the number of acorns on the big oak in my back yard that has stood watching over the valley for so many years and been the home to countless birds, squirrels, and an occasion resting place for hoot owls.
With the first frost the walnuts have begun falling to the ground. I could have picked up several more five gallon buckets but only took four with me and filled those quickly with the help of my two grandsons. The walnuts which are still green are in the hull and are big this year. I pick them up for my wife's aunt who will hull them and when the winter comes sitting cozily by the wood heater with a hammer and a brick and spend the afternoons breaking the walnuts extracting the meat or "goodie" as we called it as youngsters. She, like many of those who are quickly dying out, doesn't believe in being idle and cracking walnuts or hickory nuts deep the hands busy and pass the time in a productive way.
The black walnut grows all over the Southeast and the trees from where I got mine are found along the river edge. Squirrels love them and already I saw signs they have been at work in these trees and found several they had already sampled . The black walnut has long been a favorite here in the mountains of Western North Carolina for cakes and sometimes the nuts are also added to the cake icing. A full robust nutty flavor is sure to make your tummy smile and your lips to smack as you enjoy one of natures best flavors.
The wood from black walnut is favored for furniture and gun stocks and is becoming increasingly rare and expensive. If you are fortunate to have some black walnuts where you live and are industrious enough to hull and crack, your efforts will be rewarded and not a waste of time or energy.
Do you like black walnuts? Have ever eaten a black walnut cake?