Strawberry, Mozzarella and Walnut Salad

Whether topping off a banana split, chopped up in a salad or jutting out of a chewy brownie, the walnut always win the best supporting actor category. Adding texture and richness to a variety of dishes, they make eating healthy taste great.

Walnut Benefits

A walnut is a tidy package of nutrients wrapped up in a formidable shell. Once you crack its armor, the walnut fulfils many of your dietary needs:

  • The skin of a walnut contains the majority of the nut’s antioxidants, which help fight cancer-causing free-radicals and cellular damage.

  • Many recipes call for the removal of the slightly bitter, waxy skin. While this may enhance the flavor or texture of the dish, it also reduces the amount of nutrients.

  • Walnuts contain an abundance of omega-3s, helping to improve cardiovascular health.

  • Walnuts are a good source of copper, magnesium and biotin.

  • Vitamin E can be found in walnuts and helps protect against heart disease, cancer and promotes eye health.

  • The recommended serving of walnuts is one ounce per day, or seven whole walnuts.

  • Because nuts are high in calories, it is important to balance the health benefits with your caloric needs for the day.

SEE MORE: 15 Recipes with Nuts

Growing Walnuts

Cultivating walnut trees is not as simple as planting a seed and harvesting in a few months. Patience and diligence is important for a successful harvest.

  • A walnut sapling will not be mature enough for harvesting until five to seven years after it is planted.

  • A walnut can be planted with the husk on or off, but a lack of husk may speed the germination process.

  • The nut should be planted three inches under the soil in the fall. A young sapling can also be planted in the desired location.

  • Be aware of surrounding plants. The walnut tree’s roots produce a toxic substance called juglone, which is poisonous to other plants.

  • Trees can be planted by themselves or in a stand, at least 20 feet apart.

  • A whopping 38 percent of walnuts are grown in the United States, 90 percent of which are grown in California.

  • Six varieties of walnuts make up the majority grown in California: Tulare, Serr, Chandler, Hartley, Howard and Vina.

See Also:  Tips for Harvesting Summer Vegetables

Walnuts

 Harvesting Walnuts

After the tree has reached maturation, you will finally be able to harvest your walnuts.

  • Harvesting should occur in late August through November.

  • Tennis ball-shaped husks surround the nut and fall to the ground.

  • Walnuts remaining in the trees may be shaken down and collected.

  • When the trees have dropped their walnuts, a harvesting machine gathers them from the ground.

  • In commercial processing, the hull is removed by dehydration and stored until cracked or packed.

  • Walnuts can be sold with or without the shell.

  • Shelled walnuts are cracked, inspected for quality and sorted by size and color.

Walnut Storage

Walnuts are wonderful to have on hand for a snack, appetizer or to use in a recipe.

  • Shelled walnuts can be stored in the refrigerator for six months or the freezer for up to a year.

  • Unshelled walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry, dark place for up to six months.

SEE MORE: What’s in Season: Mushrooms

With so many health benefits, it’s no wonder walnuts are a popular nut for cooking and snacking. Used as a garnish, candied or roasted, walnuts can be found in numerous dishes. Check out these sweet and savory walnut recipes.

Recipes

Strawberry, Mozzarella and Walnut Salad

Brown Sugar Fudge

French Green Bean Salad

Apple Walnut Crostada

Pear, Gorgonzola and Walnut Pizza

Sources:

http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/walnuts/

http://www.motherearthnews.com

http://www.walnuts.org/about-walnuts/how-walnuts-are-grown/

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here