Uses for nut shells

Peanuts shell out many health benefits

As familiar at ball games and the circus as they are on a plane or in a peanut-butter sandwich, Americans adore their peanuts.

Traced back to 2,500 B.C. Peru, peanuts were first cultivated by ancient Incans who offered them to the sun god in religious ceremonies. The once-favorite farm-animal food, also called “groundnuts” or “goobers,” sustained many soldiers during the Civil War, when they were even ground into makeshift “coffee.” At the suggestion of George Washington Carver, the peanut became a farm favorite in the ’20s after the cotton blight, and the rest is history.

Contrary to their name, peanuts are not nuts at all. They are legumes, related to peas, lentils and beans. Unlike most of its vine-climbing relatives, the peanut plant ( Arachnis hypogaea ) grows as a ground flower that matures its pods underground. Processed into peanut butter, oil, flour and flakes, there are many ways to enjoy their nutty flavor and nutritional punch.

Peanuts pack a dose of folate, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and resveratrol, the same polyphenol antioxidant as in red wine. And just one ounce, about a handful, provides 13 percent DV (daily value, the recommended intake based on a 2000-calorie diet) for protein, making them an excellent plant-based protein.

Peanuts have long been known for reducing the risk of heart disease when eaten daily in small amounts (1 ounce), and research has since linked them to the prevention of other chronic diseases, including diabetes and certain types of cancer. A 16-year study of more than 80,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study found that peanuts may improve glucose and insulin balance, suggesting a link between nut and peanut-butter consumption and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fortunately, studies also show that increased yet moderate consumption of peanuts does not lead to weight gain. In fact, a study published in the September 2000 International Journal of Obesity found that eating peanuts can help with weight loss by increasing fullness.

Shelled, unshelled, raw, roasted or sweetened — peanut varieties are as broad as they are tasty. Available year-round, both packaged and in bulk bins, dry and undamaged shells house choice peanuts. Shelled peanuts store best sealed and refrigerated, while unshelled peanuts require cool, dark storage. The versatile peanut makes a handy snack or a crunchy addition to most any recipe. Try them sauteed with vegetables, chopped into a coating for chicken or fish, or topping a green salad or frozen sundae. You can also easily grind them into a delicious butter to spread or dip.


Amount: 1 ounce, dry-roasted, unsalted

Calories: 164

Protein: 7 grams (14 percent Daily Value)

Vitamin E: 1.9 milligrams (10 percent DV)

Niacin: 3.8 milligrams (19 percent DV)

Folate: 40.6 micrograms (10 percent DV)

Magnesium: 49.3 milligrams (12 percent DV)

Manganese: 0.6 milligrams (29 percent DV)

Notes : Salted peanuts can significantly increase sodium content by up to 228 milligrams per serving.

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    The walnut shells have five main uses, including walnut shell for sandblasting as walnut shell blasting media, walnut shell for filtration system as walnut shell filter media, walnut shell for cosmetics industry as ingredients for cosmetics, walnut shell for oil drilling as walnut shell filler or extender and walnut shell for pets as walnut shell pet litters.

    1. Walnut Shell Blasting Media

    Crushed walnut shells are a type of sandblasting media for cleaning. Ground walnut shells are an biodegradable, non-toxic, environmentally safe, durable and cost effective soft abrasive grit used in media blasting, blast cleaning, paint stripping, coatings removal, deflashing, deburring, tumbling, engine clean-out, burn-out applications for grinding wheels and ceramics. Typical substrates are metals, fiberglass, woods, plastics and stone on cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, boats, landing gear, buildings, brick, statues, monuments, engines in industries of automotive restoration, aircraft maintenance, military, paint and coatings. English walnut shells can remove matter from surfaces without scratching or pitting underlying material. And even more,walnut shell does not cause silicosis.

    2. Walnut Shell Filter Media

    Walnut shells are used in walnut shell filters are frequently installed for the removal of oil and suspended solids from produced water, refinery effluent and waste / re-circulation streams, steel mill direct spray and caster water, ethylene plant quench water, copper concentrate decant and cooling water found at other industrial applications where sand filters have traditionally been used as environmentally safe and effective filtration media. Walnut shell is the best technology for the removal of oil and grease, as well as suspend solids from a variety of heavy oil and other oilfield produced water streams. Walnut shell is chemically inert, hard, resilient and perfect for oily water processing. Suggested mesh sizes are 6/10, 12/20, 35/60, 40/60.

    3. Walnut Shell Filler or Extender

    The walnut shells can be used in applications of non-skid, anti-slip, painting, coatings, burn-out and filtration as walnut shell fillers. Ground walnut shell grits and flours are produced for the adhesives, construction, resin, plywood, laminated veneer lumber, furniture, rubber compounding, oil drilling and paint and cosmetics industries.

    In oil drilling industry, walnut shell is an easy and efficient solution to lost circulation problems. Walnut shells are used as lost circulation material to combat typical operational problems associated with drilling mud losses. Walnut shell does not significantly change mud properties and can be removed and perhaps recycled with ease.

    In plastics and rubber compound manufacturing, walnut shell flour is a preferred additive. In burn-out applications, walnut shell is used to create porosity in ceramics.

    For non-skid & anti-slip applications, ground walnut shell is an excellent paint additive for stairs, floors, pools, decks and ramps.

    Walnut shell filler is available in coarse, medium and fine grit sizes, suggested walnut shell grit sizes of 6/10, 8/12, 12/20, 18/40, 35/60, 40/100, 60/200 and walnut shell flour sizes of #100, #200, #325, #400.
    4. Walnut Shells Cosmetics Ingredients
    Cosmetic grade walnut shell grits, powders and flours are premium ingredients used in fine cosmetics products internationally of exfoliating products, shower gel, bar soap and cleansing products as non-animal origin, skincare additive cosmetics and toiletries.Cosmetic grade walnut shells are widely applicable in cosmetics, skin care, exfoliation, creams and soaps with shell mesh sizes of 18/40, 35/60, 40/100, 60/200 and flour mesh sizes of #100, #200, #325 and #400. Our premier crushed walnut shells are available for manufacturing high quality facial scrubs, exfoliants, soaps and creams.
    5. Walnut Shell Litters

    Ground English walnut shell grits are widely used as pet litters for reptiles, cats, lizards, bearded dragons, monitors, skinks & uromastyx, snakes and birds with mesh sizes of 18/40, 35/60, 40/100. Crushed walnut shell grit is increasingly popular as an ingredient in pet litters because it does not absorb moisture, minimizes bacteria and mold, and is bio-degradable & environmentally friendly.
    If you are interested in the walnut shells, welcome to visit our and feel free to contact us at email of [email protected]

    Walnut Shell abrasive is a hard and fibrous product made from crushed walnut shells in accordance with International Trade Standard. It is the most common type of soft abrasive for industrial use. Walnut Shell has excellent durability, and is now widely used to blast clean and polish soft metals, glass, fiberglass, wood, plastic and stone.

    Walnut Shell is used in both tumbling and vibratory applications for polishing gems and jewellery. It also works as a de-burring and de-flashing product for molding, casting and electrical parts.

    Walnut Shell is ground to various sizes ranging from coarse to extra fine, allowing for a fine degree of control over the desired finish. Like other soft media, Walnut Shell cleans and removes matter from surfaces without damaging underlying material.

    Uses include:

    • Removal of paint, flash, burrs and other flaws in plastic, alloy die casting and electronics
    • Cleaning automotive parts
    • Cleaning aircraft engines and turbines
    • Removing graffiti
    • Architectural cleaning and restoration of steel, wood, brick, stone or concrete
    • Polishing and cleaning of fine metals and alloys

    Advantages of Walnut Shells

    • Wide range of grades available, including custom orders
    • Gentle – clean surfaces without damaging underlying material
    • Porous – can be used to absorb contaminants
    • Organic: renewable and environmentally friendly
    • 100% silica-free
    • Mil-spec approved: MIL-G-5634
    • Re-usable

    Available Sizes and Profiles

    Walnut Shell is available in more than 15 sizes. We stock the following:

    6 – 10 Mesh (coarse)

    8 – 12 Mesh (coarse)

    12 – 20 Mesh (medium)

    18 – 40 Mesh (fine)

    Other sizes available on request

    Technical Specifications

    This is a 100% natural product and contains no silica.



    • 50-lb. paper bags, 40 bags/pallet


    Walnut Shells Crushed

    Order today

    Walnut Shell Brass Polishing Media

    This is un-treated black walnut shell media for brass cartridge cleaning.
    Crushed walnut shell is used as a brass cartridge cleaner and polishing media by many re-loaders. Walnut shell media is great for cleaning really dirty or heavily tarnished brass from either spending a lot of time on the ground or being fired multiple times without proper cleaning. Buy Walnut Shell Media

    What is Walnut Shell Polishing Media?

    Walnut shell polishing media is walnut shell crushed or ground to a specified particle size. The particle size is designed for cleaning cartridge cases in a rotary or vibratory tumbler for reloading. Walnut shell media is an environmentally friendly product that can be reused.

    This is walnut shell media treated with red rouge polish for brass cleaning.

    Treated and Untreated Walnut Shell

    Crushed walnut shell can be purchased untreated or treated. Untreated walnut shell is used in brass tumblers to remove thick residue and heavy tarnish from shell cartridges that are going to be reloaded. Much of the time when reloaders use untreated walnut shell it is only to clean off the heavy tarnish. After it has been cleaned with the walnut shell they will use treated corn cob media to get the final polish on the brass.
    Treated walnut shell media is the same product as untreated except a polishing compound has been added to the media by the manufacturer. Using treated walnut shell polishing media will save time in brass preparation, because not only does the walnut shell clean the residue and tarnish off the brass it also polishes the brass in the same step.
    When purchasing treated walnut shell it is a good idea to find out what polish the media has been treated with. The media can be treated with the manufacturer’s proprietary brass polish or a common powder brass polish such as red rouge.
    Some powder polishes will leave a color tint to your brass which may not be desirable. For example red rouge polish will leave a reddish tint on your polished brass if the media was overloaded with the polish. If a liquid polish is used in the media there is generally no color residue left on the cleaned brass.

    Alternative Walnut Shell Materials

    Ground walnut shell reptile bedding sold at pet stores is sometimes use as a brass cleaner by people who are concerned about price. However, this reptile bedding has much larger particles than walnut shell media that has been crushed down to a smaller more effective size for brass polishing. The larger particle size can still clean your brass but it will take longer to get the job done and may get caught in necked casings requiring you to manually remove the media.

    This video shows how to use, and how well, walnut shell media works in a Thumler’s Model B tumbler.

    Walnut Shell Media in Vibratory and a Rotary Tumblers

    Walnut shell media is primarily used in vibratory tumblers. The rapid vibrations of a vibratory tumbler greatly increases the cleaning and polishing effectiveness of the crushed walnut shells on the brass cartridges. This vibrating action also increases the cleaning action of the walnut media on the inside of the casing.
    Walnut media can be used in a rotary tumbler, however it doesn’t seem to be as effective on the interior of the casing as it is in a vibratory tumbler. If you are using a rotary tumbler and need the inside of the casings to be as clean as the outside then we suggest using stainless steel pin media that is designed for cleaning brass in a rotary tumbler.

    In this image you can see the results of polishing brass in a Thumler’s Model B high speed rotary tumbler with walnut shell media.

    How Much Media to Use

    Many tumbler instruction booklets come with recommendations for brass polishing. If yours does not, below are some general guidelines to help guide you.
    In a vibratory brass polisher, filling the bowl about two-thirds full with walnut shell media is common practice. Then fill the rest of the bowl with casings. Once the tumbler is running you will be able to add more casings to the bowl. Add them slowly making sure that you do not add to many. If you have more shells then media it will take much longer to clean your cases as they are not going to be completely surrounded by media through the entire run. Also your casings may end up scratching each other if they are continuously rubbing against each other.
    In a rotary tumbler the barrel should be filled half full with walnut media. After the media is in add casings until the barrel is at about 75% capacity. If you over fill the barrel there will not be adequate tumbling action in the barrel and your cartridges will not get cleaned and polished.
    These are starting points for how much media to use. As you do more and more case polishing you may find a more suitable ratio of media to casings that works more efficiently or quicker in your specific tumbler.

    How Long Does Walnut Shell Media Last?

    The useful life span of walnut shell cleaning media varies depending on how much it is used. New fresh media cleans brass rapidly. As it is used it becomes rounded, dirty and clogged, increasing the amount of time required to clean the brass.
    When the time to clean and polish a batch of shell casing increases to about twice as long as the first run with that media, it is a good time to replace your media.
    If the cases are still being cleaned in an acceptable amount of time but your not getting that nice polish that is desired, it’s time to recharge your media. To recharge the media replace one-quarter to one-third of the used media with new media and add fresh polish. Add the polish to the media and let the tumbler run for five or ten minutes, before adding casings, this allows the polish to spread throughout all of the media. Buy Walnut Shell Media

    Nut Shell Garden Mulch: Tips For Using Nut Hulls As Mulch

    It’s baseball season again and he who shall remain nameless is blowing through bags of not only peanuts but pistachios as well. This got me to thinking about using nut hulls as mulch. Can you use nut shells as mulch? And is it okay to toss nuts in compost piles? Read on to learn more.

    Can You Use Nut Shells as Mulch?

    The simple answer is yes, but with a few caveats. Let’s get peanuts out of the way first. Okay, you all know that peanuts are not nuts, right? They are legumes. Nonetheless, most of us think of them as nuts. So can you use peanut shells in nut shell garden mulch? It depends on whom you ask.

    One camp says, sure, go right ahead, and another says that peanut shells may carry fungal diseases and nematodes that can potentially afflict your plants. What is sure, is that peanuts are high in nitrogen and, as such, take a good while to break down but, then again, all nut shells take a while, including nuts in compost piles.

    Types of Nut Shell Mulch

    I live in the Pacific Northwest near Oregon, the leading producer of hazel nuts in North America, so we can get the cracked hulls here. It is sold as ground cover or mulch and is pretty pricey, but the hulls last almost indefinitely if that is what you are looking for. They are lightweight however, and aren’t suited to slopes or areas of wind or water eddies. Since they resist decomposition, they do not supply any nutrients to the soil, and thus, have no effect on soil pH.

    How about using black walnut nut hulls as mulch? Black walnut trees have large concentrations of juglone and hydrojuglone (converted to juglone by some plants), which is toxic to many plants. Juglone concentrations are highest in walnut buds, nut hulls and roots but are also found in lesser quantity in leaves and stems. Even after composting, they may release juglone, so the question of using black walnut hulls as mulch is no. Although there are some plants that tolerate juglone, I say, why risk it?

    A relative of the black walnut, the hickory, also contains juglone. However, the levels of juglone in hickory are much less than in black walnuts and are, therefore, safe for use around most plants. Hickory nuts in the compost pile, when properly composted, render the toxin ineffective. To help them break down more rapidly, it’s a good idea to crush them with a hammer before putting the nuts in the compost pile.

    Keep in mind that all nut hulls take some time to break down. Breaking them into smaller pieces will help the decomposition process speed up, especially if you are using it as a top dressing and are concerned about any jagged edges that can damage delicate seed starts or the like. Of course, you can also always use a sieve to separate any big chunks of hull or don’t worry about it if using the compost as a soil amendment since it’s going to get dug in anyway.

    Otherwise, I have not heard of any major issues regarding nut shell garden mulch, so toss those shells in!

    Totally Nuts: This Farm Runs on Walnut Shells

    The mention came from comedian Seth Meyers, during his Weekend Update news segment: “A farmer in California has begun powering his farm using leftover walnut shells. If you’re wondering which farm it is, it’s the one with no power.”

    Russ Lester, owner of Dixon Ridge Farms in Winters, California, was happy to get a shout-out on SNL. Still, the joke stung. “It was a typical backhanded slap,” Lester says. “I wish they didn’t say we aren’t producing power.”

    For the record, walnut shells are, in fact, producing power at Dixon Ridge. Lots of it. Using a machine that converts organic waste into natural syngas, Lester has saved upwards of $75,000 a year in energy costs. And with the installation of two new BioMax 100 converters, he anticipates up to $250,000 in annual savings. That’s no joke.

    Walnuts are one of nature’s more waste-heavy products. For Dixon Ridge, this translates to nearly two and a half million pounds of shell per year.

    In 2007, Lester crafted a five-year sustainability plan. By 2012, he wanted Dixon Ridge to produce all its own energy, somehow. It was an ambitious – and consummately Californian – goal. A Colorado company had started building machines that heated organic material at a scorching 2000 degrees, converting it to combustible gas. Lester wanted in.

    Walnuts are one of nature’s more waste-heavy products: 55 to 60 percent of every nut is shell and husk. For Dixon Ridge, a 400-acre walnut farm and processing center, this translates to nearly two and a half million pounds of shell per year.

    Lester’s first machine was a BioMax 50, used in tandem with solar panels. Some of the gas it created was siphoned into propane tanks, then used to dry walnuts. The rest was converted to electricity, powering Dixon Ridge’s farm buildings and processing plant.

    Lester says the procedure his machines use — pyrolysis — is actually carbon-negative. Put simply, pyrolysis distills some of the walnuts’ CO2 into char-ash, leading to a net loss of carbon emissions. As a bonus, the carbon-rich ash has proven to be a safe, effective fertilizer.

    Dixon Ridge’s strides led the farm to receive a “Sustainable Agricultural Champion” award from the EPA last year. It has also sparked a firestorm of interest from other ag businesses, looking to convert their waste to power.

    Wood chips, peach pits, olive pits, cherry pits — anything with less than 25 percent moisture — can be converted into gas in a BioMax machine. If all of California’s eligible farm biomass was converted to energy, Lester says it could provide nearly a third of the state’s total power.

    “This has the potential to be huge,” Lester says. “It’s not just farms that could benefit; we could make a big contribution to the overall power grid.”

    For his part, Lester is continuing to ramp up his shell-to-power program. He installed a BioMax 100 machine in December, and will add another one this year. At full capacity, the machines will produce four times the power as his initial BioMax 50. After his farm buildings are running on total walnut power, he will next turn to his field implements, like water pumps and mechanized equipment.

    But is he ready to let go of the SNL jab? “At this point I don’t really care about the context,” he admits. “Just being on Saturday Night Live was pretty awesome.”

    Image at top: The Biomass 100, installed this winter at Dixon Ridge Farms.

    If like me you love a nice bag of walnuts at Christmas you might notice there is a lot of mess with the shells. But we shouldn’t be throwing them away, we should be making things with all those empty walnut shells! So with some great ideas for reusing the shells and maybe some last minute homemade gift ideas, I bring you…

    Belt made with walnut shells

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    The image link does go to a website so you can purchase this amazing belt, but the idea is sound. Made using nothing more than polished slices of walnut-shell and leather lacing it looks incredible, but I would imagine rather hard to make ourselves.

    Boats made with walnut shells

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    If you are looking for some after dinner fun, why not make some walnut boats and race them! Easy to make, great fun and your sail can be whatever design you like!

    Turtles made with walnut shells

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    You do need a little bit of modelling clay or maybe play dough for this idea, but the finished item looks great! Using the natural shape and design of the shell, it is perfect for some lazy weekend craft ideas.

    Ladybird made with walnut shells

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    With a step by step making guide, even someone with zero art skills like me could make one of these! And what fun it would be to do it as well.

    Owl ornament made with walnut shells

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    These amazing handmade Christmas tree ornaments are a great use of all my empty nut shells. Best of all the step by step making guide in the link is really easy to follow!

    Nut bowl made with walnut shells

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    This amazing nut bowl is made with nothing more than a touch of glue and several highly polished walnut-shell slices! There is no making guide in the link as it goes to an auction site for it, but if you can afford to bid, made you could try to make your own!

    the forest friends gift idea made with walnut shells

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    Can’t work out what to get someone and don’t have any money left even if you could? Well, why not make them one of these amazing forest friend gifts! Don’t worry about how to do it because the step by step making guide in the link takes all the thinking away.

    Mice made with walnut shells

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    There is no making guide with this one, but it doesn’t look to hard to make them. Some googly eyes, pink felt, glue and pink string is all you need!

    Reindeer fridge magnet made with walnut shells

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    With a nice and easy to follow, text-based, making guide in the link it is quite easy to make some of these Reindeer fridge magnets. You just need some pipe cleaners, a magnet, googly eyes, a button and some glue!

    Mushroom gifts made with walnut shells

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    I know these amazing gift idea mushroom gardens are far beyond what most of us could make ourselves, but that is why they are so amazing! The level of detail, the amazing colours it all must look incredible and surely is the best thing ever made with walnut shells.

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    It’s difficult to trace the native home of the walnut tree, but ancient Romans believe it originated in Persia. Early cultivation spanned from southeastern Europe to Asia Minor to the Himalayas. Greek usage of walnut oil dates back to the fourth century B.C., nearly a century before the Romans. Franciscan priests brought the walnut to California, USA around 1770. The oil of the nut has been used for centuries in the preparation of fine paints for artists.

    Also you could do what the Romans did with them, i.e. throw them to wedding guests for good luck.

    If you have sheep and shear, card and spin your own wool, you can use these dyes to color your yarn or really just about anything. Just remember when you wash anything you have dyed, wash it separately as the colors will run. To dye one pound of fiber, use four gallons of water per pound of dyestuff. Dyed items always lighten when dried. Be sure to dry fabric in the shade. To lighten or darken colors, decrease or increase the quantity of dyestuff. Also, experiment with the amount of time the fabric is left in the dye solution. Gently squeeze out excess moisture from fabric before hanging it to dry. Never wring fabric, or the dye will streak. By adding mordant, which is alum (4 tablespoons you will achieve a golden brown dye. If you omit the mordant, your dye will be light brown.

    When dying wool then the following is a good rule to follow.

    1. (Prepared yarn can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.)
    2. Wind yarn into a series of 12″ loops (a skein).
    3. To prevent tangling, use four separate 3″ pieces to loosely tie the skein together (dye must be able to get under the ties).
    4. Fill a container with enough cool water to cover your wool.
    5. Add a few tablespoons of dish detergent.
    6. Soak for a few hours or leave overnight.
    7. Rinse thoroughly (gently squeeze out excess water).
    8. Greasy wool will not dye evenly.
    9. If you are not planning to dye the yarn immediately, store it in a covered container in refrigerator.
    10. Allow yarn to warm to room temperature before dyeing.

    When working with cotton, always wash cotton fabric before dyeing. Dye while fabric is still wet (placing dry fabric in the dye may cause uneven dyeing)

    If you are a wood worker you can stain your woods with this dye.

    If you are fortunate enough to have a Black Walnut tree or have access to one, allow nuts to ripen on the tree. The husk changes from solid green to yellowish green when ripe. Press on the skin of the walnut with your thumb. Ripe nuts show an indentation.

    One gathers the large nuts in the fall, usually in September to mid-October. The dye is made from the husks, not the nuts themselves. You can save the nuts to process and use for other purposes if you like, but that does require extra effort. Remove the husks by cutting or crushing them off. If you have no need for the nutmeats, the whole nuts can be soaked to render the dye. Wear rubber gloves and protect surfaces to avoid splatters, as the dye will stain permanently if it comes into contact with something you didn’t intend to dye. (I know of one woman who used to drive her car over the black walnuts to crush the shells.)

    If you have the time and inclination, do save the nuts for cooking as Black Walnuts are not only good tasting, they are also good for you. They are low in saturated fats, have no cholesterol, and are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (the good fats) which can lower “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) without damaging good cholesterol (HDL).
    Black Walnuts also contain iron, minerals and fiber, and contain no sugar. They provide the nutritional benefits of tree nuts that are enjoyed in the now-popular and healthy Mediterranean diets.

    Walnuts discolor when stored with husks attached and their flavor is ruined. Remember to wear gloves when removing husks because dye from the husks stains. Remove husks by applying pressure to the nut’s ends. Pound side to side with a hammer while wearing safety glasses. Husks also can be softened in a container of water, then peeled. A third alternative is to place nuts in a hand-operated corn Sheller.

    After hulling, rinse the nuts, preferably outdoors since nuts stain. Next, check for insect feeding by placing the nuts in water. Nuts without injury will sink.

    For those of you, who compost, please remember this. Do not compost walnut husks. Juglone, a chemical released by walnut trees, is toxic to some vegetables and plants.

    If you are going to save the nuts and eat them please follow the curing directions.

    Curing–The nuts must be cured. This prepares them for storage and allows flavor to develop. Stack the clean, hulled nuts in layers two or three nuts deep. Place them in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight for two weeks. When nuts are dry enough to store, kernels break with a sharp snap. If cured improperly, mold forms.

    After curing, store unshelled nuts in a well-ventilated area at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Cloth bags or wire baskets discourage mold. Keep the relative humidity fairly high, about 70 percent.

    To shell nuts, soak them in hot water for 24 hours. Drain and soak again for two more hours. Cover the nuts with moist cloths until you’re ready to crack the shells. Bake nuts at 215 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. If stored at room temperature, use within a few weeks. Shelled nuts can be refrigerated up to nine months. They can be frozen for up to two years.

    There are many different ways to make your dye and here is a step by step recipe for one of them.

    1. Put the husks in a fabric bag or nylon stocking that will act as a strainer. Add just enough water to cover the husks and soak 3 days.
    2. Boil the husks for an hour or two, remove them from the heat and let them soak overnight. The next day, drain the liquid from the husks into another container and throw the husks away or store the stocking with husks in a plastic bag in the freezer to be used again.
    3. Strain the liquid to remove any solids.
    4. When you are ready to dye your materials, dampen them in clear water and then immerse them into the warm dye bath. Stir the pot frequently. Allow the material to steep until the color is deep enough.
    5. When you are finished, decant the dye into glass storage containers. The dye liquor is strong enough to eat through plastic containers if stored long term.
    6. Stain can be poured into a spray bottle and sprayed or painted onto a finished product, i.e. wood or basket splints. The liquid can sometimes get moldy. Vinegar can be added to the dye to inhibit mold growth. Keep the dye in the freezer to eliminate the problem of mold, if possible.

    One could make black walnut tincture which can be used for many things. However, you would need an herbal tincture press. I have read that the tincture is good for many things, such as fungus. Use externally and apply frequently. Black walnut tincture can be applied on itching skin. This works especially well if the irritation is due to a fungus or similar invasion. It is also supposed to be good for lice and to build up potassium as for cysts and tumors. Also mixed with parsley, wormwood and ground cloves, one can make a pretty good pet parasite cleaner.

    If you do not have an herbal tincture press, you might try the following to make your own Black Walnut Hull Tincture. Again, in the fall, gather green hulls from the Black Walnut tree before they drop. Peel them (wear gloves as they stain) and place into a ½ gallon glass jar. Fill the jar as much as you want to and cover with alcohol. You can use any 40% proof or more alcohol: Vodka, whiskey etc. Let stand for 2-3 weeks and strain.

    Used by Asians and American Indians, Black Walnut Bark has been used to expel various kinds of worms; used to kill ringworms and tapeworms.

    Nuts like pistachios and raw almonds are a highly nutritious and tasty snack. If you find them to be more than a little moreish, you’re likely to have bowlfuls of empty little shells lying around your home. But doesn’t it seem a shame to throw them all away once the nut meat has been removed? Here’s just a few useful and fun ways you can use the shells of pistachios and other nuts.

    Homemade jewellery

    The uniform, curved shape of pistachio shells makes them a perfect material for making jewellery. Use a small, precise drill to make holes in your shells, then thread a piece of elasticated string through them and tie up to form a bracelet. You can keep their colour natural or use paint (acrylic or lacquer work well) to decorate them first. Try making earrings by threading a single, or a pair, of pistachio shells onto earring hooks and adding a pretty bead. More experienced jewellery makers will be able to come up with even more elaborate ideas, like this beautiful necklace from Kollabora!

    Image sourced: Kollabora

    Plant drainage

    Pistachio shells are a hard material with a high surface area, which makes them perfect for using for plant drainage. Make sure you rinse well of any salt, then place in the bottom of your plant pot before adding soil. Pistachio shells will provide the correct amount of drainage to keep your plants healthy and growing in optimal soil conditions.

    Clean your tools

    When ground up, pistachio shells have a coarse, gritty texture which makes them ideal for cleaning. While they may be a little harsh for exfoliating your skin, ground pistachio shells are a great way of removing dirt or dried on mud from gardening tools. Break up the shells using a hammer, then use a coffee grinder to grind them up further. A generous handful added to your usual soap or tool cleaner helps to scrub away at caked-on dirt, leaving them clean and shiny.


    Making home made musical instruments and noisemakers is a great activity with kids, and is a fantastic opportunity for all kinds of recycling to take place! Create basic noisemakers by adding a handful of pistachio shells to a tin can, a cardboard tube or empty yoghurt pot, before sealing the end with a few sheets of recycled newspaper tied tightly with elastic or tape. Different containers can make different sounds, so go ahead and experiment!

    Create mosaics

    Small, hard and smooth, pistachio and other nut shells are the perfect size and texture for decorating all kinds of crafts. Try painting or varnishing each shell before glueing onto a plain picture frame to turn it into a beautiful mosaic design. Alternatively, combine with gathered twigs, hessian and dried flowers to create a rustic, natural effect. Use this mosaic technique on coasters, place mats or to create standalone pictures which look great in your home and make perfect gifts.


    Whole or ground pistachio or nut shells make very effective mulch. Wash to remove any salt, then place around the base of plants to retain soil moisture and repress the growth of weeds. More finely ground up shells can be placed in the cracks between garden slabs to stop weeds from springing up on patios.

    Smoking meat

    Nut shells are rich in oils, which makes them naturally smokey when they burn. Throw a handful on a barbeque grill or in your usual smoker to add delicious flavour to your meat.

    Bean bags

    Being so small and hard makes nut shells ideal for making both small and large bean bags. An odd sock filled with shells and sewn up at one end is great for throwing around in the garden or the park- make 2 more and you have a juggling set! If you have a really large amount of shells, you can even set to work making a large bean bag for relaxing on. Fill a series of smaller, cushion-sized bean bags, before containing them all with a larger piece of fabric. This helps your bean bag to maintain some shape, making it easier for it to support the weight of a person.


    If none of these ideas appeal to you, you can always add your used nut shells to your compost heap, rather than throwing them away. Remember to rinse off any salt which can contaminate soil and kill plants. Nut shells are hard and could take years to fully break down, but mix well into your compost heap and you’ll find they eventually re pay you by contributing to a fine mix of nutrient-rich compost to use around the garden.

    The unique shape and texture of nut shells makes them popular with artists and craftsmen. If you don’t feel like using them for your own creative ideas, there are plenty of people out there who would gladly take them off your hands to use in their own projects. If you’ve managed to collect a large amount of shells, consider donating them to local artists or art classes where they can be used as a crafting material. Artists will often appeal online for donations of materials such as nut shells, so keep your eyes peeled, you may end up helping a very worthy cause.

    Image sourced: Editor at Large

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