Edible Quality of Wild Black Walnut

Just did another batch over my lunch break and timed it. I was able to hull and clean 150 nuts (plus a few discarded floaters) in about 20 minutes, with 5-10 minutes each of setup and cleanup. So I think this system would work well for up to 400 nuts a session, done in batches of 150-200. I don’t think I’d want to do it more than an hour straight, but it helps to minimize the per-nut cleanup time if you run a few batches.

I read somewhere a person talking about how they individually cleaned each nut with a wire brush and could do up to 25 in an hour. I’m sure that gets the nuts nice and clean, but that’s wildly inefficient even by my standards! My mallet/bucket/paint mixer/milk crate setup is ~16x more efficient.

I got the Grandpa’s Goody Getter black walnut cracker earlier this year and really like it. Still have to use snips sometimes to get all the meat out, but it’s so much faster than using a hammer like I was doing before. I collected 35 gallons of black walnuts this year and cleaned them with the paint mixer method. I like the milk crate recommendation for straining – gonna have to try that next year.


That’s what I’ll probably get. I had previously been skeptical of it until I saw some reviews from trusted sources. Glad to hear that you like it! My other choice was the Master Cracker, but that’s hopelessly backordered.

Exactly. so much less mess too when the husk is still green.

I’m pushing 1000 so far this year. Not quite there yet. Two years ago, I had about 3000 off my one tree that I got before the squirrels. It never even crossed my mind to use a milk crate, but I have a 5 gallon bucket that I drilled about 100 holes in and around the bottom of.
I still use the boot stomp method and I play around a little while I do it, but today’s batch of about 500 probably took me about an hour and a half, including clean up. About 300 - 350 seems to be the perfect batch for the paint mixer method and works very nicely. I sit down for the whole process of doing mine, until it’s time to pull out the mixer.
I could not find my mixer from last time this year, so I bought another ribbon one. It was from the sheet rock mud section, and trying to do 500 at once was a bit hard on it. I bent the top welds clean off.

As far as flavor. I like the one I collect from, but I haven’t gotten a good process for cracking yet either. Mostly I’m collecting because A. it is new, and B. I do not like where the squirrels think they should grow. That tree is the current mother in the neighborhood, but I noticed last week that at least one of a small stand of them on a semi-inaccessible section of my property line is producing nuts this year. I may get ot compare flavor to one of it’s offspring, but the prospect of a hard to collect area of walnuts for the squirrels to plant for me is not my favorite thought. You’ve pretty much got to pull them or they just come back bigger every year despite the lawnmower’s best intentions.
The number one key for flavor is to not leave them in the husks for long.

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EdibleAcres on youtube provides methods of harvesting them: Husking / Hulling Walnuts - Fast and Productive - YouTube


Yeah, they do a good job! They were one of the sources I used in developing my method. The biggest difference is I prefer to pre-hull them rather than send them straight to the paint mixer step. It’s easier on the drill, uses less water, and you don’t have let the nuts sit around in the husks to soften up. If I was processing the quantities they are, I would be tempted to follow their method more closely…


That’s what I ended up with, and I’m pleased so far. The nuts still have some drying down to do, and I still need a little practice, but my first try produced a full half! I’ve managed to do that before, but never so quickly and with so little effort.


I’m running with the cheap $150 cement mixer from Harbor Freight. Put walnuts, little bit of gravel or something similar, with a little water and mix. Then dump and grab them. Works pretty good for de hulling.

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