Walnut trees tolerate most soils, but prefer well-drained, fertile, moisture-retentive, alkaline loam (a soil that is not very clayey or sandy). Avoid frost pockets and exposed sites. Strong winds and spring frosts can damage foliage and flowers.
After planting, the Walnut tree takes approximately four years until it produces its first major crop. During each season, Walnuts can be ready for harvest by August, when their thick green hull (thin-cover) begins to crack open to expose a light brown, hard-shelled Walnut inside.
Walnuts are edible kernels which have been revered since ancient times as the symbol of intellectuality since their bi-lobed kernels inside the hard shell feature a convoluted surface resembling the human brain! Technically a Walnut is the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut, and thus not a true botanical nut.
Usually it is better to dry Walnuts before eating them, which also means they keep well. Dry the nuts as follows:
Break open a couple of nuts to start with to ensure there is a fully formed kernel inside.
If the nuts are good, remove all traces of the fibrous casing with a wire brush before storage to prevent mould developing.
(Gloves should be worn when removing the casings as Walnuts stain the skin.)
Dry the Walnuts in a cool oven at no more than 40°C (104°F).
Once fully dry, store them in a cool dry place.
Harvest Walnuts daily as they are very vulnerable to birds and squirrels.
Health Benefits Of Walnuts
Walnuts are a rich source of energy and hold several health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health and wellness. They are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids and an excellent source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids. Regular consumption of Walnuts therefore, may help in lowering “bad cholesterol” and increases “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that a Mediterranean diet which is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids may help cut down the risk of coronary artery disease and strokes.
Eating just a handful of Walnuts every day can provide about 90% of the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids which may help lower blood pressure, cut-down coronary artery disease and stroke risk and offer protection from breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Walnuts are a rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that are known to have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases. Eating as few as six to seven walnuts a day should give you enough of recommended levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein.
Walnut oil has a flavoursome nutty aroma and exhibits excellent astringent properties. When applied locally it helps keep skin well protected from dryness. It can also be used in cooking and as a “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines, in massage therapy, aromatherapy and pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.