Living in Western Oregon means we have access to fresh walnuts! Buying fresh walnuts is as simple as visiting the orchard just a few miles from our home.
We received an email that walnuts and hazelnuts were available for pickup only two weekends in November. I marked my calendar so we wouldn’t miss it! Years ago my stepsister used to send us fresh walnuts and they were so good.
Our friends in Eugene have their own walnut tree, which produces enough walnuts for their use. We’ve helped them with the cracking and picking stages.
After arriving at the orchard we found an abundance of fresh nuts. These nuts had been husked and dried. The choice was to have them cracked for us or take them home whole. We decided to have the nuts cracked for us which would make picking the meat out much easier.
Ten pounds of nuts filled a shopping bag! It was a rainy afternoon and picking through the nuts to extract the meat took less than a hour with two of us working.
Once the meat was separated we had about four pounds of walnuts! It was suggested that the walnuts be roasted to enhance their flavor and reduce the risk of food borne illness. To roast the nuts I spread them on a baking sheet, in a single layer and baked at 275 for 15-20 minutes. As you might imagine our kitchen smelled wonderful.
After allowing the nuts to cool I placed them in Ziploc bags to store in the freezer. I think we are set on nuts for a while! Hopefully I won’t use up too many over the Christmas holidays.
I can see that buying fresh walnuts will become a yearly tradition as long as the orchards stay in business and the trees are not cut down to make room for more developments!