Let me start by saying that I love nuts, of all kinds, hence the little chestnut obsession. Walnuts, the regular kind, are actually one of my favorites and always remind me of Christmas. Dad would buy a big bag of them, in their shells, and many an evening over the holidays would be spent by the fire, cracking walnuts and drinking port or mulled wine, or in Dad’s case, a single malt.
In our new home we have at least 4 black walnut trees and there are many more down the street. I think I still need to research the difference between black and “not-black” walnuts as I’m not sure I fully understand it yet. I have not seen an actual nut, only the outer casings and inner shells when being bombarded by squirrels throwing them down out of the trees. I believe they do this to smash open the outer casing on the ground, thus saving them one job.
As you can see above, they look almost apple-like with their outer casing intact. It’s a very thick layer and very “juicy” on the inside. This juice stains everything, including your skin, a greeny brown colour. So you can see why the squirrels try to skip that step.
The second row shows, from left to right, one with its casing smashed open on the ground; one half in its casing and one completely out of its casing, showing the inner shell still in its green stage; two inner shells, one still green, one dried out to its hard blackness. The squirrels seem to take them in this last stage and then somehow gnaw a whole through it to get to the nut. It must be worthwhile as our shed is full of them!!
I, however, could not crack one even with a nutcracker! Any suggestions welcome….I have a feeling there’s more to come on this topic.