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Minnesota Trees: Black Walnuts - Uses for Them

Updated on May 20, 2016

Country Life

Living in the country, leads to having trees, grass, birds and other wildlife that wanders through the yard.

I think that my yard serves as some sort of depot for travelling birds, since at times, my yard will have so many birds hopping on the ground and sitting in the trees, you can only see a living carpet of birds and the air is filled with a roar of chirping.

One time I was lucky enough to see the departure of these billions of birds. There were a couple that started to swirl around in my yard. Then, almost like the pied piper of Hamlin, more birds joined the swirl. It began to look like a massive bird tornado, every second, more birds would join from the trees.

Then, the cloud of birds left. It was the most interesting sight I had ever seen in my years of birdwatching. I felt blessed to have witnessed it.


I have many, many wild squirrels and chipmunks running around capturing nuts and chewing the hulls off. I must assume that the interiors of the black walnuts are liquid in nature when they are green since when the shell is left, or dropped by the squirrel, it is empty later when I slice them open for crafts.

Almost like a mini coconut. You know how they are hollow and have a fluid center. Walnuts must be the same way initially.

Time of Year

It's getting to be that time of year when the walnuts will start to grow and I'll be reading stories about people who make walnut wine.

It's technically not wine, but a schnapps. The walnuts are picked when green, usually June 24 or so, and placed in a bath of vodka or neutral spirits or Everclear. The people who make this substance, call it Nocino, and many swear by it and extol the virtues of its nature.

Lick a Walnut

If you lick a green walnut when they are young, they taste fruity, almost like a lemon. The smell is one that would be welcome in a house, for a natural air freshener.

When the walnut hull is cut, it has a liquid that oozes out. This liquid seems to be fairly harmless but use gloves when handling them. This liquid is also used to stain furniture when left to ripen and produces walnut stain.

I don't know how it couldn't stain your teeth brown if you are going to drink it eventually, but I guess coffee drinkers face the same issue. Smokers, too.

Using Them

I like to use my walnuts in crafts and I am willing to sell what I have to others. I have a few trees on my property that are soon to have their spring nuts growing. I actually haven't looked at the trees to see if they have them on or not.

Soon, I'm sure.


There are people who chop and grind the fresh nuts for liquors, but I have wintered over nuts on the ground and I intend to start picking them up and running them through a sawmill to make round slices for basket making.

Yes. People use the slices for basket making. A friend of mine does classes in pine needle coiled basket making and her students need slices. The slices are used for starting the bottom and used for decorations on the sides as the work progresses.

Roofs/Flooring for Fairy Houses

I think that my walnut slices would make excellent shingles for a fairy roof. or linoleum for a fairy house.


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