[NAFEX] walnuts versus squirrels

Jim Cooper jcooper at lewiston.k12.id.us
Tue Aug 10 19:42:59 EDT 2004

We have a large walnut (thin shelled carpathian) tree. It produces lots
of nice nuts. They are easy to harvest, they just fall off the tree when
ripe. The squirrels are in a hurry to eat them, and eat them green. We
have tried to harvest them when I pruned the tree last year. This may
have been about this time of year.  The hulls were hard to get off and
then the nut was not quite as good either.  We will be picking up nuts
even as the leaves fall after the first frost.

Ideally they will mature and the hull will loosen and the nut will fall
seperate from the hull. These still need aditionall drying, but are so
much easier. We are in N. Idaho zone 6 and ours are maybe a month or two
away from ripe. Soon the ones that had a walnut hull fly lay an egg or
two in the hull will start falling early. These can also be used but
they are messy to remove the wet and black yucky hull. In these hulls
you can often see the fly magot, but this in no way affects the quality
of the nut inside the shell. It will stain the nut shell some but the
black stain is only affecting the looks of the woody shell. If the tree
is sprayed in early to mid July this doesn't happen as much. We use
gloves and a paring knife to remove hulls. Even the nice ones will stain
your hands and clothes. 

About 1/2 of the nuts need the hull removed. Then we lay them out in the
sun to finish drying. This takes a couple of weeks in under the car port
but still in the sun. Then when they are dry they can be stored any
where. If they do not get dry soon after harvest they will get mildew in
the shell and the nut is lost.

Jim in Lewiston
zone 6

>>> markl at nytec.com 08/07/04 2:14 PM >>>
I have a seedling walnut that is producing a crop of nuts for the first
time.  It has taken about 20 years to reach this point.  So now I want
to harvest the nuts before the squirrels get them all.  They are green
on the outside, and the shells are starting to get woody.  Inside, the
nutmeat is almost to its full size.  Should I pick them green and dry
them in a safe place, or should I let them hang on the tree until they
start to fall off?  Also, how do I process them after picking so that I
have a pile of nuts with clean shells, and not a pile of slimy black
balls that they will turn into when the green outer coat starts to rot?
-Mark Lee, Seattle z8
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