Sunday, August 14, 2011

Juglans nigra...the highly prized Black Walnut tree


Fall is a great time to enjoy this wonderful tree that provides excellent shade, edible fruit, and lumber. The fruit is supreme in baked goods or to eat roasted with a sprinkle of salt. But it isn't easy to get to. The yellow-green fruit falls to the ground after a hard freeze and ready to be processed. The outer covering has to rot to an oily-black consistency complete with wiggly maggots. With rubber gloves the decayed mass must be cleaned from the hard nut shell and the shell dried for a few weeks. Finally, the extremely hard shell has to be cracked and nutmeats extracted. Through all of that one must ride shotgun on the goods for squirrels will steal them. It's worth it. There is a bonus for the naturalist...the oily-black pulp can be treated with some water, filtered, and then boiled to reduce the volume to make a wonderful stain or dye for wood or fabrics. And then finally, there is the lumber. [And there is a further bonus for those that have to deal with icy road a drive way. Save the broken hull pieces...great tire traction. But then, they have to be cleaned up in the Spring.]

Black Walnut

Juglans nigra [Wikipedia]

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