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Oct 15, 2006 04:34 PM

Heavy duty nutcracker for Black Walnuts

Can anyone recommend a heavy duty nutcracker for shelling black walnuts, or offer any tips on how to remove the hulls and shells?

I have a friend in MN who has lots of black walnuts dropping from his trees, but just throws them away as they are messy and the shells are really hard, so I'm hoping the chowhounds know of a good method for him. I hate to see nuts go to waste.

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  1. I have always found that a small sledgehammer, hatchet, a brick or the front tire of a large car seems to do the best job when cracking black walnuts is the task at hand.

    Be sure to wear thick leather gloves with latex liners underneath, or you will have hands stained with the sepia dye that comes from them and it lasts for weeks. Safety glasses are also required.

    there was a similar thread about black walnuts on the home cooking(?) board about 1 month ago.

    PS, Please remeber to crack a few for your local squirrel population, as I have even seen my local tree-rats :) give up after trying to open black walnuts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      I think it was my post re eating walnuts off a streetside tree. They are still sitting on my kitchen counter, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all the horror stories about cracking black walnuts!

    2. Our squirrels have absolutely no problem eating these nuts. You can hear them up in the trees, gnawing away at them all day long - it's a pretty funny sound, louder than you'd expect.

      I agree - sledgehammer. That's all that works. But make sure you de-husk them first (take off the green part) and let the nuts cure for several weeks before eating. The nuts need time to dry and solidfy inside the shells. They're tasty, I guess, but honestly waaaay too much work for me to deal with. Which is sad because we're just drowning in them this year.

      1. Channel-lock pliers work great.

        1. Nyleve has it right about the husks. After we dry them, we crack them in a vise and throw them in a bucket. After that,we pick them out while watching bad tv shows so we don't have to feel guilty about watching--can't admit the bad tv I like.


            I just picked one of this up a couple of week's ago in a hardware store in New Hampshire.

            Then last weekend, I see that Cooks Illustrated rated it best by far in the Nov/Dec issue.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              Call me a party pooper but no freaking way would that gizmo - not even the more expensive one - work on black walnuts. They are something else altogether. The only place you can buy a tool to crack those things is at, like, Home Depot or a heavy equipment dealership. Like I said, a sledgehammer or, better yet, a pneumatic drill.

              1. re: Karl S

                It specifically says English walnuts, and the other one says soft nuts, neither of which applies to black walnuts.