Tidbits about the Walnut, scroll down to the bottom for an interesting recipe. Can you say ketcup?
The walnut-tree is a native of the Himalaya, Persia, and the southern provinces of the Caucasus. It was introduced into Greece and Italy some centuries before the Christian era. The walnut is now grown throughout temperate Europe.
Unripe walnut fruits, when the shell is still soft, make an excellent pickle; a delicate sweetmeat is prepared by boilingv them in sirup.
Walnuts contain a sweet oil much used in Southern Europe for food, and, under the name of nut-oi], for painting. The mate of walnut-kernels, or walnut-cake, is a good cattle food.
Walnuts in the shell yield one-third their weight (about 36 percent.) of peeled kernels, which are the crumpled cotyledons, or seed-leaves.
During the summer shelled walnuts are kept in cold storage, but not ordinarily in large quantity. The in-shell stock seems to keep well enough in ordinary storage, particularly if fumigated occasionally against insects. Moreover, English buyers taking shelled walnuts from carryover stocks in September-October want the kernels to be freshly shelled just before shipment.
A product strange to Americans, but which accounts for sizable French tonnages, is the in-shell walnut in its fresh or green state. The crop is knocked off the trees as soon as the green hulls can be removed, and is rushed to market while the kernels are still moist and pliable. Western Europeans, particularly the English, relish these walnuts as a delicacy to be served with or in lieu of fruit at the end of a meal. They are cracked at the table and the moist pellicle, rather bitter at this stage, is peeled off before the pearlywhite and delicately flavored kernel is eaten.
The fresh walnut is a more important trade item in the Grenoble area than elsewhere, and large quantities, as much as 20 to 25 percent of the area's in-shell sales, are shipped to England, Belgium and the Netherlands, and Germany. The walnuts are bleached with sulfur, washed in a light chlorine solution (largely to check mold), size-graded, and packed in attractive 6-kilo burlap and 10-kilo mesh bags. They are then rushed to market through the fresh fruit and vegetable trade--entirely different channels from those through which dried walnuts are handled. Early in October 1955, wellgraded and packed fresh walnuts were quoted at 125 francs per kilo (about 16 cents per pound) f. o.b. packing plant, while dried walnuts of the same type were quoted at 190 francs (nearly 25 cents per pound).
Source: Filbert Bulletins ©1898
Harvesting the walnut is very simple, as most of the nuts do not have to be picked, for they, of their own accord, drop to the ground at maturity; yet considerable attention must be paid to the gathering of the crops so as to have clean, bright nuts that may command a high price and ready sale. The walnut harvest begins in September and ends in November. In some sections the crop comes in quite early and is gathered in September, overlapping into October; in others, the crop is not harvested so early; but October is the principal month, sometimes overlapping into November.
Some of the growers collect the nuts from the ground as they fall every day, others collect them every other day, and some every third day, until most of the crop has fallen of its own accord, and those remaining on the trees are knocked down by means of a pole. Boys and men are also employed to climb the trees and shake the nuts down; others agitate the limbs with a long pole having a hook at the end. The nuts that are ready to drop come down easily, and are picked up and dried on trays in the sun. It generally takes from three to four pickings to gather all the nuts from a tree. When the husk inclosing the nut shows no signs of cracking it is an indication that the nut is yet unripe, and when knocked down the kernels of many of these generally dry away and do not fill well. Then, again, if the nuts are allowed to hang on the trees or remain on the ground too long after falling, they absorb moisture and rapidly deteriorate in flavor, color, and keeping qualities. In the walnut sections along the coast damp fogs and dew prevail during the harvest time, rendering the husks quite moist, and the nuts contained inside become stained by the acid juice of the husks, which, if not removed, renders the nuts quite black, and lessens their market value. This acid is very strong and adhesive, and to remove it the nuts have to be washed and afterward dried. Hon. Ellwood Cooper, of Santa Barbara, has a most perfect apparatus for washing and drying the walnut, which is an invention of his own. It consists of an iron cylinder with a long opening on the top side, where the nuts are put in. When the nuts are washed the cylinder will turn with the opening down, thus letting the walnuts and water out. As with all other apparatus of this kind, it has to be seen to be appreciated. They are made by the Fulton Iron Works, of San Francisco, and cost from $125 to $140.
* "The 'hard' shells should and the 'soft' and 'paper' shells must be gathered as soon as possible after dropping from the trees, as it injures the quality and appearance of the nuts to remain long on the ground. They are usually dried on trays about 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, holding about one hundred pounds each. 'Soft' and 'paper' shells should be dried in the shade, and many of the growers have buildings for that purpose. After they are thoroughly dried they are bleached and then run over a screen with a one-inch mesh, into strong sacks of uniform size, each sack bearing the registered trademark of the 'Los Nietos and Eanchito Walnut Growers' Association,' and also the name of the individual grower, thereby settling the question of responsibility in case the nuts are not up to the required standard."
t "There are different modes of gathering: some clean the trees at once, and others go over them several times. I pick what has fallen without knocking. I then tap those limbs lightly on which the nuts are ripest, and the third time over I aim to clean the trees. The walnuts are picked up and put in sacks and barrels, so as to be easily
* A. Downer, of Rivera.
t Joseph Sexton, essay before Ninth State Fruit-Growers' Convention, 1888. handled, and hauled to a sunny place to dry, and should he placed on elevated platforms made of narrow boards, with spaces of one fourth of an inch between each board. The platform should be about 8 feet wide and 40 feet long, or as long as two men can handle a canvas to cover the beds, which should be done every night the dew falls. The nuts should be stirred in these beds once or twice each day, and with favorable weather they will dry sufficiently in three days, and are ready for market. I have always dried my walnuts by the sun and they have given good satisfaction, and for small orchards I think it is the cheapest and best way. Some dry by evaporation and claim it is preferable to the sun; that it sets the oil quickly and prevents the nut from becoming rancid. Others claim that it makes them so ; but be this as it may, those having large orchards cannot depend on drying all by natural heat, and the drier will have to be used, even if it is not so good for the nut."
*" In handling the nuts, I cure in dry-houses by artificial heat, heating sufficient to evaporate the water and set the oil of the nut. When this is done the nuts will keep sweet for an indefinite time. I have kept them as an experiment, in my store-house, which is of concrete, for five years, and at the end of that time they were as sweet as when first cured. With my facilities, I cure them in eight hours. In preparing them for market, I have a washing apparatus—invented by Mr. Cooper—which I use if the nuts are discolored, as they often are by coming in contact with leaves or shucks when there is dew or rain. Directly after washing they are thoroughly dried and cured in the dry-house."
t " In gathering soft-shells, the nuts should not be left long on the ground, as the sun and fog will cause the shell to crack and the nut to become ruined. They should not be left long in the gathering-sacks, as they will then sweat and turn black. If the nuts are to be washed it should be done as soon as emptied from the picking-sacks, as they will then clean much easier. After this, spread in trays for drying, if to be bleached they should be thoroughly dry before. We use trays 3 by 6 feet, with sides 4 or 6 inches high, and a slat bottom with J^-inch space between slats. For the past few years all walnuts grown in Rivera have been scoured by placing them in a wire cylinder, washing them and revolving it for five or ten minutes, or longer if necessary to make them clean, then throw on water enough to wash clean before taking out of washer. This greatly improves their appearance, removing all fiber and pieces of hull that might be sticking to them. It also gives them a much smoother appearance. Now place them in trays, and dry."
Source: California Walnut Industry ©1896
WALNUTS. Make a brine of salt and water, in the proportion of a quarter of a pound of salt to a quart of water; put the walnuts into this to soak for a week; or if you wish to soften them so that they may be soon ready for eating, run a larding pin through them in half a dozen places— this will allow the pickle to penetrate, and they will be much softer, and of better flavor, and ready much sooner than if not perforated: put them into a stewpan with such brine, and give them a gentle simmer; put them on a sieve to drain; then lay them on a fish plate, and let them stand in the air till they turn black—this may take a couple of days; put them into glass, or unglazed stone jars; fill these about three parts with the walnuts, and fill them up with the following pickle.
To each quart of the strongest vinegar put two ounces of black pepper, one of ginger, same of eschalots, same of salt, half an ounce of allspice, and half a drachm of cayenue. Put these into a stone jar; cover it with a bladder, wetted with pickle, tie over that some leather, and set the jar on a trivet by the side of the fire for three days, shaking it up three times a day, and then pour it while hot to the walnuts, and cover them down with bladder wetted with the pickle, leather, &c.
WALNUTS AND BUTTERNUTS. Gather them for pickling when the head of a pin will pierce them easily; run a large needle through them here and there, or score them on one side with a knife; lay them into a brine of salt-and-water for twelve days, changing the brine twice in that time; strain, and put them into a jar, and sprinkle a little salt over them. Boil four quarts of
vinegar for a hundred walnuts, allowing to each quart one ounce of whole pepper, and one of ginger, half an ounce each of sliced nutmeg and whole allspice, a table-spoonful of mustard seed, and one of scraped horseradish, one head of garlic, or a small onion; pour it boiling hot over the nuts, and put a plate on the jar; when cold, tie it closely down. Alter the nuts are used, the liquor may be boiled, strained, and bottled, to use as a pickle.
WALNUT KETCHUP. (1) Thoroughly well bruise one hundred and twenty young walnuts; put to them three quarters of a pound of salt, and a quart of good wine vinegar; stir them every day for a fortnight; then stram aitd squeeze the liquor from them through a cloth, and set it aside; put to the husks half a pint of vinegar, and let it stand all night; then strain and squeeze them as before, adding the liquor which is obtained from them to what was put aside the preceding day, and add to it one ounce and & quarter of whole black pepper, forty cloves, half an ounce of nutmegs bruised, or sliced, half an ounce of ginger, and five drachms of mace, and boil it lor half an hour; then strain it off-from the spices, and bottle it for use.
WALNUT KETCHUP. (2) Take six half-sieves of green walnut-shells, put them into a tub, mix them up well with common salt, (from two to three pounds,) let them stand fur six days, frequently heating and mashing them; by this time the shells become soft and pulpy; then by banking it up on one side of the tub, and at the same time by raising the tub on that side, the liquor will drain clear off to the other; then take that liquor out: the mashing and bankineup may be repeated as often as liquor ts found. The quantity will be about six quarts. When done, let it be simmered in an iron boiler as long as any scum arises; then bruise a quarter of a pound of ginger, a quarter of a pound of allspice, two ounces of long pepper, two ounces of cloves, with the above ingredients; let it slowly boil for half an hour; when bottled, let an equal quantity of the spice go into each bottle; when corked, let the bottles be filled quite up: cork them tight, seal them over, and put them into a cool and dry place for one year before they are used.
WALNUT KETCHUP, FOR FISH SAUCE. Take a quart of walnut pickle, add to it a quarter of a pound of anchovies and three-quarters of a pmt of red Port, and let it boil till reduced to one-third; then strain it, and when cold, put it into small bottles, and keep them closely corked.
WALNUT PICKLE. Put any quantity of the outside shells or green rinds of rtpe walnuts into a tub in which there is a tap-hole; sprinkle them with water, raise the tub on one side, that it may stand in a sloping direction, place another vessel under it to receive the juice as it drops from the tap-hole; this it will soon begin to do; and, when a sufficient quantity has been obtained, to one gallon of this black liquor add two large table-spoonfuls of salt, one large onion, a stick of horseradish, a bunch of sweet herbs, two bay leaves, a quarter of an ounce of black pepper, the same of allspice and of bruised ginger. Boil it slowly for twenty minutes; strain it, and, when cold, stir tt and bottle it for use, putting the spice info the bottles.
WALNUTS, TO PICKLE. Gather the nuts before the inside shell is hard, which may be known by trying them with a pin; lay them into salt and water nine days, changing the liquor every three days; then take them out, and dry them in the air on a sieve or mat; they should not touch each other, and they should be turned, that every side may become black alike; then put them into a jar. When half the nuts are in, put in an onion, with about thirty cloves stuck into it. and add the rest of the nuts. To one hundred walnuts allow half a pint of mustard seed, a quarter of an ounce of mace, half an ounce of peppercorns, and sixty bay leaves; boil all the spice in some good common vinegar, and pour it boiling upon the nuts, observing that they are entirely covered; stop the mouth of the jar with a cloth, and when cold, cover it with bladder or leather. In about six weeks they will be fit for use, when they should be examined, and if they have absorbed the vinegar so much as to leave any of the nuts dry, more should be added, but it need not be boiled.
Source: The Cook's Own Book ©1832