Every once in a while you have to prune your fruit trees so that the fruit grows stronger next time. You cut off dead branches basically, so that no nutrients that come in through the roots are wasted on that branch, but instead support the living, producing branches.
Well, that’s what Carrie and I did the day before she left. Me, Carrie, Daniel, and our friend the chainsaw.
All geared up, Carrie couldn’t wait to demolish her nemesis: The Walnut Tree. (She’s allergic to nuts)
We had to watch she didn’t take down the whole tree…
These little caterpillars are Carrie’s best friends. They eat the plant and make less for us humans 😦
I killed them all.
So the walnut tree lived happily ever after, providing us nuts, nuts, and more nuts! YUM!
Walnuts are a nut with great NUTritional benefits. See here.
But to name a few…
- Great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Good for cardiovascular health
- Anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema
- Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
And of course, they are delicious, especially roasted or frozen, in my opinion!
They begin hanging on a tree, as seen above. They look a little something like this:
Well, that’s the outside and the inside shell.
The outside shell must be cracked to reveal the walnut inside. See how dark the outside is? It will lighten up as it dries.
This is what the inside of a fresh walnut looks like. Kind of like a brain, right? It still has to dry out a lot as well.
Once picked, the walnuts sit on a drying rack for a long time. The walnuts we have been cracking and eating are actually last year’s yield.
When the walnuts are dry, you crack them using whatever method you see fit. Of course they make tools for this specific purpose, but us? We use a 5 lb weight atop a 25 lb weight. Just crack it once or twice, with conviction of course, and out will come the nut–with a little wiggling perhaps.
Works perfectly! The last two days have been pretty rainy and cold here. So we spent a lot of time cracking walnuts, in assembly line fashion. We probably cracked 11 lb worth of shelled walnuts within that time. Wow.
…I have been eating way too many walnuts…
Here are a few ways to use wanuts:
In a smoothie…
Making Maple Cinnamon Roasted Walnuts
Maple Cinnamon Roasted Walnuts
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 2 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 Tsp cinnamon
- Pinch salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 375. Mix together salt, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. When well incorporated, add the walnuts. Toss to coat. Lay on a greased baking sheet or a silpat atop a baking sheet, and bake for 7 minutes- then watch them so they don’t burn. In the oven I was using, it took 8 minutes. But they burn quickly, so be careful!– Let cool almost all the way before eating. Enjoy!
In an Apple Wanut Loaf– recipe below.
These are some apples we picked the other day.
I sliced them from their core, and way from any worm holes. Unfortunately, we encountered quite a few worm holes. Ho hum.
The recipe called a cup of grated apples…
Can you see what this farming is doing to my hands!? They won’t come clean and they are so rough! I can’t apply enough lotion it’s craazy.
The recipe also called for diced apples…
And a cup of chopped walnuts!
I mixed together the dry and the wet ingredients, and then folded in the apples and walnuts…
Put that in a greased and parchment paper-ed pyrex baking pan…
Baked for an hour (since it was bread, not muffins like the recipe said)…
It came out sooo good! Not too sweet, really showcasing the apples and walnuts perfectly.
What a nice fall treat! It made a great snack with tea in the late afternoon, and an even better breakfast with some hot coffee. Mmmm…
Apple Walnut Loaf
(Adapted from A Dash Of Sass’s Blog)
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbs water
- 1 Tbs flax seed
- 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup grated apples, drained and patted dry
- 1 cup finely diced apples
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (plus some extra to sprinkle on the top)
Directions: – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and all the spices). In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (yogurt, eggs, oil, vanilla, water, flax). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into this well. Using a large wooden spoon or spatula, stir until the ingredients are just combined. Stir in the grated and diced apples, and chopped walnuts. (I used a mix of granny smith apples and Arkansas black. A mix of a tart green and sweeter red should work best.) Be careful not to overmix. You want the batter to be lumpy and it might even have some streaks of flour that haven’t been completely mixed. This is fine. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Top with whole, raw walnuts, because it’s pretty and we eat with our eyes first! Bake for an hour or until the top is slightly browned. Remove to a wire cooling rack. Let the loaf rest before serving, but serve warm, if possible. If serving after it cools, I recommend microwaving it a bit! Enjoy!!!
I feel so lucky to have such fresh ingredients at my disposal. I only have a few days left here! I hope I can create at least a few more dishes before I go— 🙂