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What would you do with pounds and pounds of walnuts?

We went walnut-picking at a friend's orchard a few months ago, and we've slowly, very slowly, been eating our way through them. We have about 40 pounds left, I'd guess!

What would you do with them? Walnut butter is one thing I've been contemplating. They're in the shell, so doing anything with them is rather work intensive.

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  1. Granola can use them up relatively quickly, and makes a popular gift. I also use extra walnuts in quickbreads that I then pre-slice and freeze to make them hearty (somewhat healthy) ready-to-go breakfasts. I also add a handful of walnuts to either yogurt or oatmeal to add protein/heft to other breakfasts.

    That said, with 40 lbs, you probably should freeze some and/or give some away so that they don't go rancid. It often takes me 6 mos. to go through a 5 lb. bag and I've never run into this problem, but you might given how long that could take.

    1. Tons of things to do with them...walnut pie, add to stuffings, breads, cookies, brownies, cakes; sprinkle on salads (one of my fav's is blue cheese or smoked gouda, bacon, toasted walnut combination). Use in a pesto instead of pine nuts; grind & use to coat meat before cooking, i.e, chicken, fish, pork etc. And don't forget that nuts can be frozen for longer storage.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        A pesto is a great idea, as is granola. I'm looking specifically for big-batch recipes that will use them up. Pesto freezes well, and cilantro goes nicely in place of basil.

        1. re: Cherylptw

          I just made a pesto with flat-leaf parsley, garlic, walnuts, and pecorino romano -- it's crazy good.

          I eat walnuts pretty close to every day -- I just keep them in the freezer and they keep for months, easily. I toast them from freezer-temp in a couple minutes in the microwave.

          I honestly would not do walnut butter, because it would be SUCH an ordeal getting all the skins off the walnuts. But Derby pie, granola, and shortbread cookies would use up a bunch, and then the rest could go in the freezer to be used as you needed them for banana bread or to top yogurt or whatever.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            A similar pesto is fresh spinach, walnuts, pecorino romano, fresh garlic. cracked black pepper, sea salt or kosher, and olive oil. Super great and its kid friendly. Hot freshly baked baquettes, also easy to make go great with it. With so many walnuts I'd make it for a standby. It's a great pesto that will freeze nicely to use for pasta, or a pizza base. Mix it with ricotta and it makes great filling for ravioli.

        2. When our friends send us walnuts in 10 lb bags I grind them to a coarse meal and use in pastry/pie crusts, in breading, pesto, cookies, smoothies, savory dishes, ice cream, energy bars and butters. I typically grind the entire bag and freeze in 2 cup batches. Uses all year long.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HillJ

            wow! love the idea of putting into pastry and cookies especially.

            1. re: cinnamon girl

              As far as pastry goes you could make linzertorte-esque pies, using walnuts instead of almonds and whatever flavor jam you prefer.

          2. It is imperative that you have a walnut pickin' party immediately, where you crack and extract the meats, for freezing. 40 lbs is a lot, and some may end up as gifts to your friends for their own pickin' party. But seriously, they need to be processed for freezing or quick use so that you can evaluate which of the suggestions for use are right for you.

            1. Make lots and lots of baklava?

              1. Quel coincidence. I was just reading my C'mas present, Tartine and the last thing I looked at was a recipe for Maple-Glazed Pecans. I was thinking of how nice it would be with walnuts too and here's your post. The headnote says they're not just for sweet applications (e.g. toppings on ice cream) but great with cocktails too.

                Maple-Glazed Pecans in Elizabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine, San Francisco, Chronicle Books 2006, p. 158.

                Preheat to 400º. Line a baking sheet. Toss together in a bowl: 2 tbsp each of maple syrup, sugar, and light or dark corn syrup, 1/8 tsp salt (they caution you not to omit) and 2 cups/10 oz/285 g of pecans - or in your case walnuts. Coat evenly with syrup mixture.

                Pour onto baking sheet and spread evenly. Toast, stirring every few minutes w/ a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon once the mixture begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. They're done when they're golden brown and the syrup is thicker and bubbling slowly. Remove from oven. Let cool completely on the pan. The coating on the nuts sh/b crisp when the nuts are cool. If it isn't, you can put them back in the oven for another couple of minutes.

                Separate the cooled nuts. They will keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 wks or for a month in the fridge.

                I'm loving this book, btw. Each recipe includes a note explaining the whys and wherefores; the recipes have volumetric, avoirdupois and metric measurements. Easy-to-read layout.

                Vanilla ice cream with maple syrup - heaven . . . with maple syrup and these nuts, I'm thinkin' maybe - nirvana?

                4 Replies
                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  I love this recipe from Tartine. Easy to make too! Just make sure you watch them though - they burn fast!

                  Though I personally would prefer pecans still. The bourbon recipe from Tartine is also stellar.

                  1. re: jlunar

                    Oh I'm glad to see your feedback. I still haven't made them yet. Pecans just have a nice crunch to them, don't they? I can see how nice that would be. Thanks. Have you made anything else from the book?

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      Not me personally, but my sister has (despite it being her gift to meeee!! hahaha). She's done the iced ginger bread, which I think is nice, but nothing crazy. We prefer the sablés from The French Laundry and hmn... that's all that comes to mind right now. Without it beside me (I really should get my own copy now that we don't live together any more), I can't really remember.

                      Really great book though. Was all jazzed about making my own croissants until I read the process. WAY TOO MUCH WORK!

                      1. re: jlunar

                        Ha ha - croissants are a lot of work. No so bad if you can break it down a bit by making the dough one day, rolling and folding etc, the next, baking the following. Whenever I've made them (not Tartine's recipe yet), it's more like the snail method.

                        That's too bad about the iced ginger bread. It looks so beautiful and I was all psyched to find one of those cute rolling pins with the design on it ... or a molded baking plaque (if that's what it's called). I like how they explain why things work or not. Yes! definitely get your OWN copy! - too funny that your sister kept your gift. Thanks for the info Jlunar.

                  1. With that many walnuts I would recommend investing in a tabletop nutcracker. I got mine at the local hardware store for around $20. It does everything except black walnuts and for a little more $ you can get a heavier one that will do those too. Shelled and frozen, your walnuts will last a good long time. But they'll also store very well unshelled in a cool/cold place like your garage or someplace similar. They're actually easier to crack and pick after they've been stored in the shell for a few months because some of the water evaporates out of them, the meat contracts a little, the shell dries and cracks easier and you can end up with more walnut halves.

                    To make walnut butter toast the walnuts in the oven, let them cool, and then put a small pile at a time in a towel and rub them. That gets most of the skin off. Don't worry about getting it all off. Then whirl them to a paste in a food processor adding just enough of a neutral flavored oil to get the consistency your want. I use a little walnut oil to boost the flavor. Then taste for salt. If you want sweet add a little honey before the oil or stir in a little sugar when you add the salt. Sometimes I add a little chocolate ganache if I have it before adding the oil. Tastes like a spreadable brownie!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: morwen

                      Yum! That would have a lot of applications. Like the coarsely ground meal mentioned above.

                      I didn't realize black walnuts were so much harder to shell. It would almost be worth spending the extra if it weren't too much.

                    2. Chile en nogada or Duck fesenjan for savory dishes. Nuez licuados.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        doesn't this dish require green walnuts-not fully ripe?

                      2. orangette.com has a yummy recipe for asparagus with walnut crema-- uses a pretty good amount of walnuts.

                        1. I am about to make several walnut-raisin Beglis. It's a Hungarian pastry I usually only think of during the holidays, but a good friend requested several (well six actually, I am biting off a bit at a time) and I can't say no.
                          It's a yeasted dough, rolled out and filled so the baked slices resemble a pinwheel.
                          I prefer the poppyseed version, but that not what's on order!
                          Wish it were cold and rainy here still, baking is so much more fun that way.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rabaja

                            Do you bake it in a roll and then slice it when it comes out of the oven? It sounds intriguing - not to mention delicious! I love poppyseed desserts too.

                            1. re: cinnamon girl

                              Yes, you basically roll the dough into a rectangle, spread the filing over the dough and then roll in into a log.
                              Second rise, egg wash and into the oven.

                              Once cool you slice inch thick slices. So good for breakfast with black coffee!
                              If you'd like the recipe I can take some time tonight or tomorrow to post it.

                          2. The other day I pan-toasted walnuts in a little bit of walnut oil, then seasoned with sea salt. They were out-of-this-world good. Amazing on hot caramel sauce, for sure.

                            1. Freeze them, in the shell. They will keeep for a very long time. Freeze in heavy duty ZipLock freezer bags. They are also much easier to shell when frozen. Just wack them with a heavy bottomed jar.

                              Snacks, roasted in salads, roasted on a Cheese tray.

                              1. Fesenjan! A persian chicken stew made with walnuts and pomegranates, served over rice. Divine.
                                a couple of different recipes are linked here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fesenj%C...

                                1. I LOVE walnuts, you're lucky to have so much on hand. I keep mine in the freezer and even soaking a handful a day for a few hours in water yields a yummy "light" (since they're usually kind of heavy) crunchy snack! Super healthy too, recommended by Dr. OZ.

                                  I also like to candy them, and serve over pancakes, in salads, or just as a snack. Can make a pesto and use instead of pine nuts (can substitute basil for fresh spinach if you want)

                                  Also you can grind them up roughly with sugar and put that mixture in a cinnabon bun type of thing, or a coffee cake or even little dough pockets (like perogie shapes but they're on the cookie side) very popular middle eastern tea cookies.


                                  You can also top a cookie with a walnut halve, looks very pretty and goes well with a variety of different cookie flavours.

                                  Oh and I once made this walnut cake (no flour) and the batter consisted of finely ground walnuts, it was a rather delicious tort! Allrecipes has the recipe.

                                  1. Probably not what you are looking for but I would shell them, pack them in 1 pound zip lock bags or foodsaver bags if you want to freeze some. I would post them on Craig's list and sell what i didn't think I could use.

                                    1. I would just add walnut streusel ( http://www.chow.com/recipes/11149-cel... ) to almost any and every baked savory dish you make.

                                      1. make baklava from Claudia Roden's "The New Book of Middle Eastern Food" :)

                                        1. Hi davina,

                                          If you can get your hands on a walnut press that is for oil you could make walnut oil. It is great for cooking and adds a nice flavor to many dishes. I have never done this but I thought you might be able to do it with the walnuts you have if you can get the press.

                                          Take Care

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: gem_of_cali

                                            We did look casually for a walnut press, but didn't find one. We just ended up shelling them all and freezing them, and using them over time in various cakes, salads, and snacking opportunities! Thanks for all the recommendations, everyone.

                                            1. re: davina

                                              Hi davina,

                                              Guess I should have found out where you could find a walnut press, before I suggested one. I am sorry about that. Glad you found a way to use them. :)

                                          2. Circassian chicken. I use the recipe in the Time Life Turkish cookbook, but I've seen plenty online, too. Here's one that looks okay, though I hate this whole trend of using chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken. http://oneperfectbite.blogspot.com/20...

                                            1. You could make raw Walnut Milk.

                                              Since you pulvarize the nuts with a blender and then throw away the pulp after squeezing through a cheesecloth, I wonder if you really even need to worry about getting pieces of the shells in there?

                                              1. Ah! Fall and collecting walnuts.

                                                My parents went through the Depression as young marrieds. Entertainment was mostly self-made in those days. One of their favorite activites was to invite friends over have for a simple supper and a walnut picking party, from nuts gathered in vacant lots and by the roadside. The table was cleared after dinner, spread with newspapers, and a couple of fellows would crack the nuts (using a hammer and a steel plate--more halves that way) and everybody would pick the meats, tell stories, sing the popular songs, then have dessert. The meats were either divvy-ed up, taken to the nut processing company or to a local bakery, and the proceeds would fund a party or other group activity.

                                                This became a ritual fall acivity for our family as we kids were growing up. Mom continued to "stake out" and glean untended walnuts well into her 70's, a habit she passed on to me, though I'm lazy and tend to buy nuts from a small grower instead of gleaning.

                                                I just found a small local ranch selling new crop walnuts from their yard trees, and have been shelling them myself the past few days. NOTHING like fresh-shelled walnuts. SO sweet. $1.25 / #. Hard to keep my mitts off them.

                                                My favorite cracking technique is to put the walnut, point directly up, on a flat piece of steel plate (I stole from hubby's shop) and strike the point of the nut with a lightweight household hammer. If hit correctly, the shell will crack into quarters so you can peel it away leaving the whole nut intact. Then you simply pry the nut apart into halves at the base. Bingo--all, or at least 95%--halves.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: toodie jane

                                                  Nice memory and legacy, tj.

                                                  Could you give a bit more description of the tools: thickness size and weight of the steel plate and hammer? I'm partial to using the six inch jaws of a bench vise, but willing to try a different way.

                                                2. Next year when they are still young pickle 'em - goes great with cheese

                                                  1. Baklava comes to mind; also walnut ketchup. You could also candy them ( I like a sweet-hot glaze) and freeze for gifts - the holidays are coming right up!!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                      Isn't walnut ketcup made with green walnuts? Do you have a recipe mamachef?

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I do have several recipes, but it's not something I'd ever made before. I remember eating it as a steak sauce in the UK, and the nuts were black, but after reviewing the recipes, it turns out that it is made with green walnuts that are "ripened" in brine, so already ripened nuts wouldn't be appropriate (or, better yet, I can't figure out how this would be done.) If you'd like the recipe w/ green walnuts, I'm happy to offer it, but I haven't tested it, nor eaten it, so it would be a maiden voyage. Let me know.

                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                          Oh no, I was hoping you had some exp. with green walnuts. I've not tried it either but I've been curious about it for some time. So unusual, it appealed to my curious nature.

                                                    2. Cookies, Spice Bread, Pumpkin Bread, etc. Walnut Pie (follow a Pecan pie recipe)

                                                      1. Walnut raisin saussages (a Turkish dessert, no meat in it) If you can find a recipe.



                                                        Their taste is amazing. Not very sweet but very comforting. My mom makes them for Christmas gifts. I don't have her recipe but I found one in this page and I think she adds a small amount of caraway or any other spice that goes well with walnuts.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: hala

                                                          That stuff is amazing, I grew up eating it. Walnuts strung on a string and then coated (dipped) several time in a grape based syrup that hardens like a jelly .. it's fun to peel off the layers or just cut the sausage up in rings and eat them, SO GOOD!!! I've not found this in years here in canada.

                                                          Nawal Nasrallah has a book on iraqi cuisine with a recipe inside, I've tried it once but it didn't turn out that great. Needs some more practice on my part.

                                                        2. If they are still fresh (not dried) and unpeeled my mom makes walnut jam with whole walnuts. If you are interested I will ask her how she makes them. I don't have the recipe because 1) I do not have access to fresh walnuts and 2) I rarely if ever eat jam.

                                                          1. i would send them to mattstolz if i were you. this is probably the best option out there.