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The Difference Between Black and English Walnuts

The Difference Between Black and English Walnuts
        There are two distinct types of walnuts, and they are very different from one another.  It's quite interesting to compare and contrast them because in many aspects they are opposites.  Their historical and current uses, flavor profile, shells, and wood are some examples of this.
        English walnuts are actually from Iran, and got their name because they were first brought to world markets by English merchants.  The Greeks used selective breeding to create walnuts with larger nuts, giving us the walnuts we have today.  Black walnut trees originate from eastern North America and were used by Native Americans and English settlers for wood.  Chandler Orchids, a great resource for information about walnuts, explains, "Today black walnut wood is used extensively in flooring, furniture, coffins, and even gun stocks."
Consumers prefer the flavor of English walnuts to black walnuts, and for this reason, it's hard to find black walnuts in grocery stores.  Black walnuts are higher in fat and protein than English walnuts.  English walnuts are commonly used in baking and cooking, while black walnuts are most often used in extracts for industrial buyers.
        English walnuts have a soft and thin shell, making them easy to crack.  In contrast, black walnut shells are so hard, they're used in sand blasting to clean ships and jet engines.  English walnuts are easy to remove from their shells, while black walnuts are much more difficult, not to mention, they can stain your hands.  Check out our blog on how to remove black walnut stains here: https://baganut.com/blogs/news/how-to-get-rid-of-black-walnut-stains
Black walnut trees are known for their hard and grooved wood.  It's great for timber because the trees are fast growing.  English walnut trees grow much more slowly and the bark is soft and smooth.  Both types of walnuts fall in autumn, making this the perfect time to harvest them.
     
 
Check out all your options for harvesting English walnuts and black walnuts with a Bag-A-Nut here: 
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When and How to Pick Up Your Almonds

When and How to Pick Up Your Almonds
        The autumn season brings more than just pumpkin spice, holidays, and fall decorations.  It's a time of harvest for many crops, including almonds.  If you're blessed with owning almond trees, you're probably excited about what they are beginning to yield.  Almonds are a delicious snack you can eat plain or in many different dishes.  Here's how to know when and how to collect your nuts!
        You can start checking your almonds for 1/2 to 2/3 splitting while the hull is still green in early August.  Once all of them are at this point, you can start shaking your trees. The Almond Doctor is a great resource and explains, "This process utilizes a piece of equipment which clamps to the tree and applies a vibrational force. This energy is transferred to the nut. The vibration moves the nut, which causes the tissues to disconnect at the abscission layer. Nuts then fall to the ground to finish the drying process."
        You don't want to start shaking your trees prior to all of the almonds being pretty well split because they will not be ready. Sugars inside will turn into fats and protein, and as the splitting begins, the outer shell dries out so the almond can be released.
       Once you've shaken your almonds to the ground, you're ready to harvest them. The sooner you pick them up, the better, so they don't rot because of moisture on the ground or become the next snack for animals and insects.
        Forget the old back breaking techniques of picking them up by hand.  Check out Bag-A-Nut's line of Almond Harvesters available in a variety of sizes and start collecting the fast, fun way!
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Understanding Nut Classifications

Understanding Nut Classifications
    If you love nuts for their delicious, earthly flavor and culinary versatility, you might be interested to learn there are many different "nut" classifications.  Many people consider "nuts" to be a catch all term, but there are actually quite a few differences when you look closer.

    Serious Eats explains, "A true nut, botanically speaking, is a hard-shelled pod that contains both the fruit and seed of the plant, where the fruit does not open to release the seed to the world. Some examples of botanical nuts are chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns."

    Tree nuts are grown above ground on fruit-bearing trees and can also be called seeds.  Almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, and cashews are all considered tree nuts.  They are basically the opposite of fruits, because the part you eat is on the inside once you break through the hard outer shell.  With fruits, you eat the outside, not the inner seed.

    Peanuts are different because they are grown in a pod in the ground, and are therefore classified as a legume.  Other examples of legumes are peas, lentils, and beans.

    Interestingly, drupes are another classification and some tree nuts fall into this category as well.  "A drupe is a type of fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell (what we sometimes call a pit) with a seed inside. Some examples of drupes are peaches, plums, and cherries—but walnuts, almonds, and pecans are also drupes. They're just drupes in which we eat the seed inside the pit instead of the fruit!"  Cashews are also considered drupes because they are the seeds that grow underneath cashew apples.

    As you might conclude, all these classifications can be quite complicated, but also interesting.  Check out our sources below to learn more and grow your knowledge about nuts!

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