10 October 2021
Black walnuts are ripe now and falling from the trees. Guarded by a black-staining husk and a very hard shell, getting to the walnut meat is a challenge for humans and squirrels alike.
Humans gather and process in bulk. Squirrels gather and eat one at a time. Humans use tools, squirrels use teeth.
Both of us get walnut stains on our hands. Squirrels also get stains in their mouths.
For a squirrel, husking a single black walnut takes about 8 minutes (watch 8 minutes here).
Opening the shell can take 40 minutes. (See photos and description at How to Open a Black Walnut). While the squirrel is gnawing the shell, you can hear a scratchy sound. Have you heard this sound in the woods? Watch and listen in the video below.
For an individual human it takes 3-4 weeks to gather, husk, clean, dry (3 weeks), and shell black walnuts. It makes sense to do this in bulk as shown in the video below.
Black walnuts are a challenge … so I buy them at the grocery store.
p.s. Read more about black walnuts at the Phipps #bioPGH blog.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons and Donna Foyle)