They are usually sold shelled as whole nuts or in pieces, ground and sold as “walnut flour” or “walnut flour”. Depending on your end use, you may choose to buy whole nuts (e.g. as a snack; it's fun to split your own nuts), but they're not available everywhere and are usually only available. Under nuts we mean not only almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, etc.
The predominant part of almonds available on the market (approx. Depending on the variety and the region in which they are grown, the walnut harvest starts from early September to early November. At this point, the grains are light in color and the membrane between the halves has turned brown. Walnut trees begin to bloom in early spring, and that's when the first green walnuts begin to appear.
As the walnuts mature, the tender green shell that covers the nut darkens to dark brown, then dries and breaks to reveal the hard, tanned shell it contains. Depending on the variety, walnuts are ready to harvest from mid-September to early November. Farmers harvest the nuts by shaking the branches of the trees until the nuts fall to the ground, and then harvest them immediately before the most demanding insects discover them. Hazelnuts are a unique permanent crop with a long shelf life.
These orchards have an even longer shelf life than almonds. The shrub can produce nuts up to 40-50 years old. Unlike most permanent crops, hazelnuts bloom and pollinate during the winter months. Hazelnut blooms with male and female flowers.
The male flowers are long and yellow, and the female flowers are small and red. Pollinators are not yet active during the cold winter months, when hazelnuts bloom; as a result, trees rely on the breeze to carry pollen from one tree to another. The pollen is then stored while the tree remains dormant until spring, when fertilization occurs. Hazel trees start producing nuts in mid-May and are ready for harvest from August to October.
While a mature walnut tree is likely to produce some nuts each year, the tree will alternate between a bountiful harvest one year and a light harvest the next. The nut harvest season in California generally runs from late August to late November. Once the outer green shell of the nut begins to dry and split (as shown in the picture), the nuts are ready for harvest. Autumn is a spectacular season, full of pumpkin pies, apple fritters and quince.
Nuts finally arrive from the processing plant to the kitchen and finally to the table. Earlier this fall, during the nut picking season, I walked from my house down the hill to pick a few nuts from a neighbor's tree. A separate machine is used to sweep the nuts in neat rows so that mechanical harvesters can pick them up from the ground efficiently. The menu included a velvety mashed pumpkin soup topped with a scoop of crème fraiche and roasted walnuts, as well as roasted salmon with dill sauce, penne with seasonal roasted vegetables and roasted walnuts, and a persimmon galette topped with walnuts (you guessed it).
Starting from this point of simplicity, you can start incorporating walnuts into other cold-climate dishes. After cleaning the nuts and removing the leathery outer shell, one of the first processing steps these nuts will undergo is a mechanical drying process. So, while you're likely to see some nuts every year on your walnut tree, expect the amount of harvest to vary. In years of favorable growing conditions and light walnut production, the tree will have abundant resources and produce a profusion of flowers.
The mild taste of walnuts, roasted in their shells and served hot from the oven, is perfectly complemented by freshly picked organic apples: fresh, crispy and sweet. Walnuts and walnut oil are unstable and can easily tend to go rancid, and nothing is as unpleasant as an old nut. Early September to early November is the typical nut picking range, when the kernels are light in color and begin to separate from their shells. You can dry them on the floor in a single layer, as long as the sun shines and the nighttime temperatures are pleasant, although you may need to cover them with a plastic net to deter walnut scavenger birds.