Snow . Our local weather oracles said we would get 4-9 inches of snow on Thursday (Feb 9, 2017). Which brings me to the subject of walnuts.
Walnut trees are common in North America. Many think of them for the beautiful furniture their woods makes or the shade they produce. But they are also a great and healthy source of food. Walnut trees take 2 years for their nuts to mature and drop.
My father harvests black walnuts from his walnut tree in his yard. Although black walnuts are native to North America, we rarely harvest them here anymore. Instead we eat the “English Walnut” which were brought here from the Middle East and are primarily grown in northern California . (You figure it out).
What’s the difference between a black walnut and an English walnut?
- Their health benefits
- Their taste
- Opening the shell
Health. Health-wise, both walnuts are superfoods, high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fats which lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and make us smarter. Although English walnuts have a bit more omega-3 fats, black walnuts have significant selenium and L-arginine. I bet you might be thinking to yourself , “Wow good to know, thanks Paul, because I was feeling like my body was a little low in selenium and L-arginine today.”
Selenium is a “trace mineral that helps prevents coronary heart disease, cancer, is an anti-inflammatory, immune booster,” and so much more.
L-arginine is an “amino acid that helps the heart and helps blood flow which prevents dementia and prevents erectile dysfunction (ED)” (so I guess it can prevent someone from forgetting they have ED). It is also an immune booster and good for the renal system.
Taste. Black walnuts have a much stronger, earthy taste compared to English walnuts. I do eat them raw, but more often use them in cooking. One might say they are an acquired taste, like oysters, rhubarb, or Vegemite. Actually not like Vegemite – OMG that stuff was hell (sorry my Ozzie friends). See Bondi Beach – The Perfect Long Weekend for Groundhog Day
Opening the shell. One disadvantage of black walnuts is that they are very difficult to open. We’re talking electric drill, sledge hammer, vice, and safety goggles. Not exaggerating here.
Enough about walnuts, let’s talk about spinach.
With the impending snow, I checked my spot for peace on earth (our local Community Garden) to see if by chance I had anymore spinach (see Turnips, Spinach, and Hen) and I did.
One characteristic of spinach is that the colder the weather the sweeter the spinach. I would never pick/eat this stuff in July (blah) but definitely in February (yum). Also winter spinach means zero effort – don’t need to weed, water, nothing just pick and eat.
The conclusion. I had black walnuts and fresh-picked spinach. I had bought some green grapes and lemons (I try not too buy out of season but could not help myself). So I made this wonderful creation.
Not only was this dinner amazing (pat myself on the back) but we got 4″ of snow.
What should you take away from this blog post?
- Try black walnuts sometime – give them a chance.
- Plant some spinach seed in October and early March. So easy and the best tasting spinach you will ever have.
- We got ripped off with almost no snow this winter. But the weather scientists were right again this time (albeit at the low end). Remember friends that a forecast is a prediction with probability around it. It is neither a statement of fact nor a Nostrodamian vision. It is a probabilistic forecast.
Enjoy. Eat well. And peace on Earth.
What do you use to de-shell the black walnuts? Thanks in advance for a useful answer.
The way we do is a two step process. First put each nut in some sort of holding device like a vice and drill 3 holes in each nut with a power drill. Then we lay all the nuts on half a tarp and fold over the tarp. Then we hit the tarp with a sledge hammer. Shells should then open.