English Walnuts

1. Q. My tree has produced English (Persian, Carpathian) walnuts for years but the kernel is always dark when I shell the nuts. What am I doing wrong?

A. English walnuts should be picked, hulled and dried as soon as they are physiologically mature. A delay in harvest and drying will result in dark colored kernels or development of mold which will destroy the kernel.

When English walnut trees receive enough rainfall or irrigation water during nut development, nut hulls begin to burst uniformly all over the tree. These are ideal conditions for harvesting. However, when trees do not receive adequate moisture during the period of nut development, hulls do not burst uniformly, if at all, and maturity can be determined by periodically inspecting the tissue between the kernel and inner lining of the shell of sample nuts. Walnuts are ready for harvest when this tissue turns brown. Also, when mature, the hull becomes loose around the nut, under conditions of inadequate moisture for the tree, even though the hull does not burst.

Begin checking for brown tissue between kernel and shell and loose hulls around English walnuts during the last two weeks of August through September. When it is determined that nuts are mature, collect, hull, and air dry them for two weeks before you store, eat or sell them.

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