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Wild American Black Walnuts stand alone in the nut world as a distinct and versatile ingredient with bold flavor and many health benefits. Hand-harvested every fall, they are one of few crops still picked by hand, making them a unique, all-natural and sustainable nut.
The American Black Walnut is native to 32 states and finds its home here in the Ozarks as the official tree nut of Missouri. It is one of the most valuable natural forest trees in the United States with a variety of uses. The flavorful nuts are harvested as a popular food while the wood is used in crafting furniture and gun stocks. The husks can be used to make dyes, and the shells, the hardest of any tree nut in the world, are used for a broad range of industrial applications. As a result, the Black Walnut is one of the most fully utilized trees in America.
The harvesting of Black Walnuts is a Midwestern tradition spanning generations. Today, it involves thousands of people gathering fallen nuts from lawns, fields and pastures every fall. The crop is almost fully collected from the wild and then taken to central hulling stations for gathering and processing.
The bold, distinctive flavor of Black Walnuts has been a staple in American kitchens for years. This popular nut adds a rich taste and texture to traditional baked goods, like cake, cookies, and breads. On the savory side, savvy home chefs are adding Black Walnuts to one-of-a-kind entrees, side dishes, and toasting the nuts for a robust salad topping.
Black Walnuts satisfy the demand for delicious, healthful foods. Low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and a good source of protein, they provide robust natural flavor while promoting good health. In addition, the nutmeat contains vitamin A, iron, minerals and fiber and serves as a cholesterol- and sugar-free snack or ingredient.
Boost the nutritional profile of your favorite foods by adding Black Walnuts to dishes like salads, yogurt and oatmeal, or by using Black Walnuts as an ingredient nut in fish or chicken recipes. Toasted, Black Walnuts make a tasty addition to trail mix for a healthy snack.
There are 3 key differences between English walnuts and Black Walnuts. First, Black Walnuts are a wild, hand-harvested nut, while English walnuts are grown in orchards. Second, Black Walnuts have a very thick shell, making them tough to crack. Due to that reason, Black Walnuts are only available in various piece sizes. Third, the flavor of the 2 nuts is very different. English walnuts have a mild flavor. Black Walnuts have a bold, distinctive earthy flavor derived from the roots of the tree. They are primarily used as an ingredient in many recipes and are also popular in ice cream.
High in essential nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin, the American Eastern Black Walnut is native to the central and southeastern US. While over 93 percent of its fat is unsaturated the "good" kind of fat, the real excitement is found in the nut's taste. It has a striking, pungent flavor that electrifies everything from chicken breasts to fudge pie. In fact, conventional walnut wisdom says anyone who can't find a palette-pleasing dish featuring the Eastern Black Walnut is, well, nuts.
Missouri-based Hammons Products, the leading proponent of black walnuts in the food industry, celebrates the virtues of "The Ultimate Nut" at its web site (see banner above) Here you'll find a wealth of information about the nut, including full nutritional information, a surprising list of industrial uses for nut shells.