Monday, June 16, 2014

Drying walnut shells

I've always been around black walnuts, since the black walnut trees grow freely and abundantly in east Tennessee. As a kid, they were a toy, something to kick and throw. But now, looking at these nuts through the eyes of a soap maker, I can really see the potential! So, back in October, I went to my husband's family farm, grabbed up a few bags of freshly fallen walnuts, and headed home to make a great soap additive!
To clean, dry, and shell your walnuts:

1. Start off with a freshly fallen walnut, still in the green "fruit". While wearing gloves (the fruit will stain your skin!), peel away the softened fruit, revealing the walnut underneath.

2. Once all of your walnuts have been removed from the green fruit, soak the walnuts in a cool water bath. Make sure to use a stainless steel tub, since the walnuts will stain. Stir the walnuts to help remove any excess fruit.

3. Next, hang your walnuts in a mesh bag for two weeks, which will allow the walnuts to cure.

4. After your two week wait, use a hammer to break the tough walnut shell, revealing the nut. You can save and eat the nuts, but we are going for the shells. Break your walnut shells with the hammer until they are small pieces (dime size or smaller).

5. Finally, put the walnut shells in a heady duty food processor and grind them until they are a fine powder. The finer the better!

Store your walnut powder in an air tight container until ready to use. Suggested usage rate in soap is 1 tbsp per pound of oil.

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