The Walnut is known and loved by everyone. But what do we really know about this nut? We have gathered some interesting facts about walnuts you may not yet know. Reserved exclusively for royalty and extremely expensive, they used to be called “the Royal Nut” in the old days and are considered to be one of the three foods known to men, dating back to 7000 B.C.
But even now they are still as praised as in ancient times and the walnut tree was even given the title “The Tree of the Year” in 2008. Harvested in early summer half-ripe and ripening walnuts as well as walnut plant greens belong to the plant parts with the highest vitamin C content in Europe. For this reason walnuts were broadly used in multiple areas of ancient medicine. However, even nowadays it still finds use in natural medicines, including the tinting extract of green walnut hulls or crushed shells as scrub for sensitive skin.
Another rather unknown fact about walnuts is that they were used by both the Romans and the French as a natural alternative to Viagra for many centuries.
It’s not size that matters
Walnuts take their origin in the region around Ancient Persia and were brought by the Romans to central Europe. The plants require a warm and dry climate and are widely cultivated in North America, China, Turkey and southern Europe, including Italy, France and the South of Germany.
Its botanical name is Juglans regia (The Common Walnut, in particular the Persian or English walnut), it’s a deciduous hardwood tree of the genus Juglans (Family Juglandaceae). These seeds of a walnut tree were traditionally considered to be drupes and not true botanical nuts. However, a number of recent studies have challenged this presumption and proven walnuts to be true botanical nuts after all.
Walnut trees are long-living plants, some of them older than 160 years, and can reach 40 to 60 feet in height. They can bear fruits at the age of 10 to 20 years and, as the smell of the walnut blossoms is not attractive to insects, pollination is done only by the wind. Harvest time begins at the end of September and through the beginning of October, the green hulls of the ripe nuts burst open and reveal the hard shells of the nuts, which are approximately 2,5 to 8 cm long and 2,5 to 5 cm wide. But it is not the size that matters, since the large walnuts tend to be less rich in taste compared to the smaller ones.
Walnuts: A nut full of wonder
Walnuts are among the most nutritious of all nuts. Shelled nuts are an important source of key vitamins and minerals, they consist of 52 to 70% fatty acids and are an important source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a vital part of a well-balanced diet. According to a recent statement of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) walnuts can help to improve the elasticity of blood vessels. They also help keep arteries blockage-free and improve circulation and the cardiovascular system in general. These are just a few of the benefits achieved when walnuts are added to your diet.
Harvest and Storage
Harvested walnuts are dried down to the relative moisture of 8% and as a result loose up to 50% of their weight. This helps to protect the nuts from moulding and developing possible discolourations. The optimal storage conditions for unshelled walnuts are temperatures between 12 and 14 °C and 50% – 60% humidity, whereas shelled nuts can be stored at a slightly higher temperature. Thus, walnuts can be stored for up to one year and still remain edible. Shelled walnuts are a popular snack but also a very popular cooking ingredient that can be found in a large number of desserts, ice cream, cakes, salads or in the form of delicious walnut oil.
KERNenergie Nut-Master’s choice
Now, if you now feel like trying walnuts and want to know where you can get the very best quality, we do have a hint: We have quite a few products with walnuts, from raw or roasted whole nuts to diverse nut mixes with walnuts and even two salad mixes. Our Roasting Master is a true expert and roasts tender walnuts to their perfection, fully utilizing high quality peanut oil in the process. His extensive experience and knowledge about the product are the key to his success. Only this way, under his knowledgeable eye, is the exact moment for the best roast decided, so that the precious essential oils and the fragile nut aromas can be unleashed. The quality of the raw ingredients is equally important here, we only choose the very best harvest, around the top 10% of the year to achieve the impeccable quality found amongst our products. We only and exclusively use raw walnuts from Chile, since the very dry sunny climate and the moderately high temperatures provide the absolute best harvest. The roots of the walnut trees find their way deep into the ground and reach underground water rich in minerals, giving the nuts their rich and intensive taste and aroma.
We encourage you to try different walnut products using our individualization requests form. Here you can find caramelized walnuts, crunchy and candid treats, or our polupar mix “Melange Royal“. In addition to walnuts we also have delicious cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, or Brazil nuts.