Appalachian Wednesday–Aw Nuts!

Cutting walnutsThe apples are in, the pumpkin’s carved, and the leaves are all orange and yellow and red. Must be time for the nut harvest! Of course, if we don’t hurry, the critters will beat us to it.

Growing up on the farm, we had walnuts, chestnuts, and filberts (hazelnuts). With walnuts, it was best to let nature dry the husk and expose the shell, which would still turn our hands black. Chestnuts could be removed from their prickly casing by pinching them between the soles of our boots and pushing out. Hazelnuts we just let dry a bit and then whacked but good with a hammer.

Mom probably made things using nuts, but mostly the pleasure was in just eating them straight from the shell. And eat them we did! Chestnuts in particular were an easy target and the crisp texture and flavor of that buttery, yellow nut was SO good. You can score them and roast them briefly to make them easy to peel, but we just bit ’em until the shell cracked.

Even here, on our little ole plot of land in NC, we have walnut trees (can’t plant tomatoes under them) and several hazelnut shrubs. But it’s a lot of work and not always worth it if the weather hasn’t been right or worms have gotten there first. So mostly Thistle and I sit inside the French doors and watch the squirrels feast. Their leavings streak the porch black when I go out to sweep them away.

But I kind of like that.

Reminds me of how God provides for squirrels and children growing up on a farm just alike. And how what he provides nourished my body back then and my heart today.

5 thoughts on “Appalachian Wednesday–Aw Nuts!

  1. When I was little, we had to walk a mile uphill to school. Literally. Of course, it was a mile downhill to get home, so that was good…
    Along the way, my sister (yes, I have one) and I would collect what we called horse chestnuts and bring them home, our pockets bulging with our treasures. We never did a thing with them, other than fill a big paper grocery bag and our closet floor, with hundreds of them!
    Where lived, there weren’t any squirrels, so I don’t quite know what happened to the hoard of goodies.
    I miss that walk, it was lovely.

  2. Mom

    No tomatoes under walnut trees, but an excellent place for blackberries!
    The best pecan pie I ever ate was Anna’s made with hazelnuts.

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