Monday, 2 November 2009

And There was one Green Walnut, Hanging on the Tree

Not really green by now, but there is just one recalcitrant walnut left on our walnut trees. Our 4 trees are young and between them they only produced a couple of dozen nuts this year. Unlike the big walnut tree that grows on the ditch by our orchard boundary, which produced good quantities.

Curiously, our walnuts may not be numerous, but they are enormous. The big tree's crop this year were all very small, and people all over France are reporting that the nuts are very small this year.

Newly harvested walnuts, below, showing the leathery outer casing with its fibrous lining. The casing splits and the nuts in their shells slip out easily to be stored for a month or so to dry out, then they can be processed or eaten as desired and will keep for at least twelve months (after that the oils go rancid, but no matter, because the new harvest will be in).

Our orchard neighbour has been out with her mother collecting the walnuts from the big mature trees on their land. She is disappointed with the quantity she will end up with, as she takes her nuts to the local huilerie to be pressed for oil.

You can see the size difference between our nuts on the left
and the more typical size for this year on the right.
She tells me it costs a couple of euros per litre to have them pressed, but unless you have a minimum of 40kg of nuts, you have to share a pressing with other small scale clients and the output is divided up proportionally. Apparently they will also make oil from your hazelnuts, and you can buy oil from them for a few euros a litre (less than half the price of buying it from the supermarket, where it is about €12 a litre).

Susan

3 comments:

  1. We had noticed that a lot of the walnuts were very small this year. I presume it's to do with the weather.

    They are so delicious, though.

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  2. Now they tell you about the hazelnuts, after all those hours spent cracking them open. Next year you can just get oil.

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  3. Paulita: We haven't finished cracking the nuts, but there's only so much nut oil one can use. I think I'd rather have nuts to use than oil.

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