The walnuts are almost ready, the husks are splitting and the nut is visible inside. They haven’t fallen from the trees yet though, so perhaps there is another week to wait.
Harvesting is simple: just pick them from the ground where they have fallen. To check for ripeness, open a nut: if the tissue between the kernel and the shell is brown, they’re ripe. If a good few have fallen, the rest may fall too if you give the tree a shake [do it the Spanish way and spread an old blanket or sheet on the ground first].
The next step is to remove the husks. Wear gloves to do this, as the tannins will stain your hands brown. Once the husks are removed, wash the shells with a high-pressure hose. Inspect the nuts and discard any with discoloured or cracked shells. Lay them in the sunshine to dry. Before storing, open a few to test for dryness. If you can open the shell easily with a nutcracker, and the nut inside can be broken in two, they are ready to eat.
Walnuts will keep in their shells for several months. If storing the shelled nuts, keep them in an airtight container.
5 to remember
las cáscaras – the husks
visible – visible
la madurez de – the ripeness of
el núcleo – the kernel
los taninos – the tannins