walnuts, part 3

November 5, 2017

So continues the saga of the Great Walnut Harvest, which began here. Today was The Day to crack open the test walnut. It’s been a while since I’ve actually cracked a nutshell, what with the availability of shelled nuts pretty much everywhere. I whipped out the handy dandy nut cracker and prepared to do the job.

nutshell - walnut and nut cracker

Now, thinking back to the days when I used to have to crack nuts open using the same type of device pictured, there were never any problems. Center nut between the two levers, apply pressure by squeezing levers together and voila! Crack! The treasured nutmeat is now available.

Not so today. Squeeze as hard as I might, the shell refused to give. I enlisted the help of the man, who is (1) much, much stronger than I, (2) not afraid to give it his all, sharp flying shell pieces be damned, and (3) not emotionally invested in the outcome of this little experiment.

He did give it his all, to no avail. The nutshell refused to cooperate. Bring on the big guns!

nutshell and hammer

Enter hammer.

Wrapping the nut in a towel and giving it a good whack, we were able to crack the shell. This is after trying the whack on our patio table, which bounced back. Not enough sturdy support. Moving the whole operation to the stones on the walkway, we met with success.

walnut nutshell cracked open

The man was happy with his whack and said “there’s your nut.” Yes, no kidding, he said that, then promptly headed back into the house to begin the beer brewing process for our Thanksgiving feast.

Elated, I scooped up the towel containing the precious walnut and went to the patio table to revel in my treasure. I picked out the largest piece of walnut that I could easily get at and – noticed that it was somewhat…wet and maybe a bit soft. Not at all like the walnuts I’ve eaten and cooked with all of my adult life. And not only that, it had an odor that was just slightly “off”. Smelled like a walnut, but maybe a bit…sour…? Yes, a sour walnut.

Had the walnut gone bad? Did I not let it dry out for long enough? I am just not sure, but I am not giving up. Seeking any and all advice on how to do this better the next time.

So, have you any experience that you would like to share? Otherwise, I am off to see the great Google.


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