If you are lucky enough to have a walnut* tree in your garden or, perhaps even better, if you know someone who has a walnut tree in their garden (they are pretty large trees after all), now is the time to celebrate.
Well, because this year’s crop is falling out of the sky, it is literally raining walnuts, especially when it rains hard! And really fresh walnuts (also known as wet walnuts) are a treat not to be missed.
The husks split open to reveal the familiar hard nutshell, but inside the shell the nuts are still juicy and fresh i.e. ‘wet’.
The pale, creamy kernels are crunchy, but with a milky, mild, sweet walnut taste and just a hint of a tannic edge that gives walnuts their kick.
They should be enjoyed fresh, rather than cooked since their flavour is currently so delicate. The nuts are easy to open. My son cracks them open with just his hands, but a knife pressed into the crack at the round end works readily, or nut-crackers make light work of them.
Be quick though, because the squirrels have already moved on from hazel nuts and are already nabbing a considerable portion of walnuts …
and there are fewer left every day!
*Here I am referring to the English or Persian walnut (Juglans regia), because other walnuts including the Black walnuts (Juglans nigra) aren’t quite ready yet.