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Drying walnuts - instructions and tips

  • preparation
  • Air dry: instructions
  • Alternative: Dehydrator

Walnut trees are popular with young and old due to their nuts. When the first walnuts fall to the ground, the collection begins and just over the Christmas season, they are found in many desserts or dried in boots. However, fresh walnuts are only stable for a short period of time and must be dried. How does this work best ">

Drying walnuts is necessary if you have harvested large quantities and you want to keep them for a longer period of time. If walnuts are not cracked, they can easily last over a year. However, walnut kernels mold and wrinkle within a few days unless dried and stored close together. For this reason, it is even more important to dry the walnuts, as a possible consumption could otherwise lead to health problems. However, care must be taken before and during drying on several points, so that the characteristic aroma and the quality of the nuts are preserved. You do not want to bite after drying on a rancid walnut that tastes stale.


Believe it or not, the harvest is extremely important before drying. This is because quickly moldy or immature nuts could end up in your basket, which in any case should not be eaten or dried. When harvesting, look for the following tips to have only suitable walnuts:

Step 1: Harvest the walnuts only when they are ripe. Ripe walnuts fall from the tree alone in September and, depending on the region, harvest time lasts until late October. They solve easily by themselves from the green shell and gravity does the rest. Never pick walnuts directly from the tree, because these are usually not yet ripe.

Step 2: Look for the nuts daily and as early as possible. The longer the walnuts remain on the ground, the sooner they are picked up by animals or start to mold. Then they are inedible. Above all, moisture ensures that they spoil quickly and can no longer be dried, let alone eaten. If it rains, you need to pick up the nuts as soon as possible so they can not get infected with spores.

Step 3: If you notice mold on the shell, you should dispose of it. Mold is hard to see at first glance, especially when the nuts are still closed. Mold usually occurs in places where the walnut can be opened and stands out from the light brown shell with a dark, almost black color. If you go collecting walnuts with your children, you have to check the nuts again afterwards.

Step 4: Once you have picked up the nuts, they should be rubbed off with a brush. This is important because there must not be any remains of the shell over which the nut hangs on the tree, more to dry before walnuts. Except for wire brushes, all brushes are actually suitable for this purpose. Please note that depending on the amount of walnuts a helping hand is recommended, as the process can take a long time. This step is necessary so that the case does not start to rot. You should also wear gloves. You do not want your hands to turn brown when you clean them.

Step 5: Never wash the walnuts with water before drying. This could penetrate into the shell and through the moisture, the cores begin to mold from the inside. Although many gardeners swear by spraying with the high-pressure cleaner, the cores are extremely susceptible to mold and the spores are not destroyed by heat. Therefore, brush them off exclusively and be particularly thorough.

Step 6: Frozen walnuts should never be dried after thawing, otherwise they could become rancid. Only direct processing is recommended here.

Step 7: Never dry the nuts in the oven or tumble dryer. The temperatures are far too high and would make the walnuts go rancid. This happens already from 28 ° C.

Tip: the shorter your lawn is in the garden, the easier it is to recognize the fresh nuts. Of course this is not possible with the walnut harvest in the forest, here you have to look more closely.

Air dry: instructions

After implementing the above tips for selecting and preparing walnuts, you can start drying. The process basically uses the same principle, but there are several ways to dry the walnuts. The walnuts effectively dry in the air for a long period of time without absorbing moisture or becoming rancid. The methods with instructions:

1. Newsprint: The use of newsprint is the typical way to let walnuts dry. The instructions as follows:

  • lay out newsprint in a dry room on a fruit crate, grid or oven grate
  • the room should have a maximum temperature of about 20 ° C, be airy and not humid
  • Particularly well suited are insulated attics, boiler rooms and the floor dry rooms
  • the cellar is unsuitable for this method
  • Be sure to spread the walnuts on the newspaper with enough space
  • the closer you are to each other, the faster they can become overripe or moldy
  • the nuts are dried over a period of 4 weeks
  • You have to turn it every 2 days
  • with a weight loss of 50 percent, the nuts are ready to dry
  • If the bowl opens during drying, the respective nut must be disposed of

2. Wooden frame: this method is used in the same way as the newsprint. For this you make wooden frames, string them with wire mesh and proceed in the same way with the previous instructions. This method is even more effective than newsprint as more air gets to the walnuts.

After drying, you can store the walnuts in a net of natural fibers. Particularly suitable for this are potato sacks or onion nets. They are then stored in the pantry and are stable for up to one year.

Tip: You can also dry the walnuts in a different way, outdoors while the sun is shining. The time required to dry can be shortened in this way, but the nuts must always be brought back to the house overnight so that squirrels or other animals do not attack them.

Alternative: Dehydrator

If you do not want to wait so long for the walnuts, you can use another way to dry. The Dehydrator is ideal for this purpose because it can be set to lower temperatures compared to an oven. This keeps the oil in the walnuts from becoming rancid, which would otherwise ruin it. However, you must be aware that conventional dehydrators usually offer little space, so you need more time for a larger harvest. When drying with the dehydrator, proceed as follows:

  • Place the walnuts on the grilles of the dehydrator as if air drying
  • set the lowest possible temperature
  • Now transport the grids together with the walnuts into the appliance
  • close the dehydrator

Depending on the manufacturer, the walnuts dry completely within six to eight hours. The short duration and low temperatures protect the contained oil from becoming rancid, which preserves the typical taste of the walnuts. It is worthwhile if you change the positions of the individual grids every now and then. The reason for this is the shape of the dehydrator. Depending on the model, the lower grids require a shorter or longer drying time. Through the rotation you can speed up the process of drying and at the same time check the status of the walnuts.

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