Black Walnuts: Getting to Know “The Truffle of Nuts”

Black Walnuts: Getting to Know "The Truffle of Nuts"

Black Walnuts: Getting to Know “The Truffle of Nuts”

By Sharon Davis, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Home Baking Association

Kim Hammons knows black walnuts!  She describes them as “bold and wild, and they are America’s native nut,” Kim says.  “They are capturing bakers, culinary and health professionals’ attention because they are high in protein, rich in tannins and healthy oils. For special diets, they are gluten free, non-GMO, Project Verified and Kosher Certified. Not to be overlooked, black walnuts are eco-friendly and sustainable. Even the hard shells left from hulling are used in multiple ways.”

Kim loves telling folks about the family’s black walnut business history. In 1946, grocer Ralph Hammons noticed wild black walnuts growing all over SW Missouri, bought a cracking machine and his first 100,000 pounds of walnuts from local Ozark people.  “76 years later it remains centered in Stockton, MO and our family company buys fall-gathered black walnuts in October at 215 stations in 11 states,” says Kim.  View a great video

Also, explore how every part of the black walnut is used, and where to find them at a market near you. Hammons Black Walnuts

Harvested using a “forage” method (meaning gathered by you, me and anyone who knows what they look like) black walnuts grow wild and have long been enjoyed in the central U.S. 

Long recognized and appreciated regionally, Kim notes that many outside this region have never tasted black walnuts.  Not to be confused with English walnuts, their bolder, earthier wild taste is a great, new taste bud discovery. Kim demonstrates one of her favorites, Black Walnut Fruit Crisp in the video below.

She notes that chefs share new creations and home bakers share generations-old recipes, like Macon, Missouri farmwife “Sadie” Ann Poehlman’s Sweet Bread (dating back to the 1890s).  Robust in flavor, black walnuts are delicious in appetizers, salads, entrees, baked goods and desserts of all types are shared here!

Apple Pie Black Walnut Loaf Recipe

Perfectly timed for apple and black walnut harvest, Kim Hammons has graciously shared her family’s delicious recipe for Apple Pie Black Walnut Loaf or Muffins. You can taste autumn in every bite!

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