The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Black Walnuts

MNBäcker's picture

Black Walnuts

After being featured in our local newspaper (humblebrag...), I had a person call me wanting to sell me black walnuts for my Cranberry-Walnut Sourdough bread. He'll stop by next week to give me a sample. I'm alsways open to purchasing ingredients from a local source, but am not sure if black walnuts will look and taste the same as the regular walnuts I currently use.

Does anybody have any experience? They would come shelled and ready to use, as far as I know.

Thanks in advance,


andychrist's picture

No, black walnuts are quite different in taste and texture to regular walnuts, although they share a similar taxonomy. They are considered quite a delicacy both because of their exceptional buttery flavor, and that they are so difficult to crack open. I much prefer them over standard walnuts, they are not so bitter and also creamier. Might not stand out as much in your cranberry loaf as regular walnuts though — never harvested enough to bake anything with them myself so can't say for sure. But if I were you I'd jump at the chance, black walnuts are hard to find and so delicious, you're bound to find some recipe in which they would shine. Am insanely jealous.

fmlyhntr's picture

Black walnuts are very different--I grew up with a number of black walnut trees, but they were such a pain to crack (and the hulls stain everything) that I never did much with them. I made a batch of walnut ice cream using 1/2 black and 1/2 English that turned out well. I find they are stronger than English walnuts and much "darker" in taste.

The local Whole Foods used to sell them in bulk, but stopped carrying them since so many people (like most) who bought them, brought them back because they thought they were "bad."

I bet they would be delicious in cranberry bread.

dabrownman's picture

on some nearby asphalt (no hard roads where he lived in the Ozark Mountains)  and run over them with the car to ge tthe soft  green sheel off that would stain everything black but just picking them up after wards would stain you hands,  He used ti crack then a vice and pick the nuts out - what a pain plus this also stained your hands and everything so he took them to a place that cracked them for him and gave him nuts for a dollar a pound raw weight .  They have there own very strong taste and really don't taste like English Walnuts.  My dad bakes fantastic oatmeal, raisin black walnut cookies. - and the only ones I have ever seen.

They will be the  best nuts you ever put in your cranberry bread.I predict

johnsankey's picture

If they come with the green husk on, remove it promptly for the best taste. Put on old shoes and vinyl gloves, then roll them under foot on a washable hard surface such as your driveway, then wash everything off with a hose. When they've dried for a few weeks, split them with a hatchet: put the hatchet edge in the small notch between the two halves, then give the hatchet a mild smack with a mallet. The nuts will split perfectly in half every time, then dig out the meats with a nut pick.

They're unmatched for baking - wonderful taste. Google ECSONG for more.


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Yes, you could use a hatchet. But, if you want to crack a lot of them, that is going t wind up being more trouble than it is worth.

You could also use a black walnut cracker