Q: I have a black walnut tree in my yard that has dropped copious amounts of nuts this fall. Is there an easy way to get the nut meats out of the hard shells?
A: There is a small depression yet existing in the concrete well cover in my parents= side yard where my brothers and I used to pound black walnuts with a hammer. With every third or fourth nut, we=d miss the nut, smash a finger, fling the hammer into the weeds and swear never to try to get the nuts out again. A week later you could find us with a hammer held in bandaged fingers attempting the impossible again.
Old-timers swear by the efficacy of cast iron corn shellers for this task. Others tell tales of running over a pile of the nuts with the family car. The Georgia Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin (404-656-3722) says that drying the nuts for a few days after cracking them makes the nutmeats smaller and easier to remove. Can American ingenuity solve the knottiest (nuttiest?) problem of the twentieth century? If you know a good way to shell black walnuts, tell me about it via the e-mail address above.
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