The Nutcrackers

I have been looking forward to tasting my black walnuts, as we noticed it was a bearing year (some black walnut trees bear irregularly).  I have spent a lot of time harvesting and drying these treasures with the hope of obtaining enough nut meats to make cookies and cakes this winter.

As hard as the work that I put into the walnuts so far, I was not quite prepared for the work of cracking and picking about two dozen of these ebony globes.   I enlisted my family members to help with this task- one wielding the hammer, one manning the nutpick, and myself clucking and pecking the whole time, not willing to waste even a tiny morsel of black walnut meat.

The dining table became a surgeon’s workbench as newspaper was spread over the surface and a large cutting board arranged.  Special protective garments- non slip work gloves and eye protection donned.  The call was made for the “patient” to be delivered into the surgeon’s hands- and then pandemonium reigned.  The noise of banging and metal striking metal was dinning, pieces of walnut shells flying like shrapnel- bouncing off of the team, walls, and furniture.

When the last nut was cracked, our ears were still ringing.  We sifted and sorted and pried the tiny nut bits (that was all that was left after all the banging), and proudly gazed at our tiny harvest- about one cup of chopped black walnut meat.  We cleaned up soberly, gathering the tools, cleaning the table, vacuuming the carpeting.  A feeling akin to “shell” shock (pun intended) reigned.  Incredulously, we examine the tiny pile that was to be the reward for all of this time, mess, and pain (hubby’s arm was sore).

Before the last bit of shell was tossed into the compost, a specialty black walnut cracker had been ordered and shipping assured in two day’s time!


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