The Story Behind Walnuts

y: Clyde Lee Dennis

The first record of walnut trees date back to approximately 2000 B.C. in ancient Babylon. Though this is the first recorded history there is fossilized evidence that suggests walnuts have been around even longer than that. In fact there is a reference to what some translators have declared are walnuts in the Old Testament. There is some debate concerning this reference however. Some believe the reference to King Solomon growing nuts in the Old Testament are actually in reference to almonds.

The Greeks have been credited with the first certified improvements of the size and quality of the walnut trees now called of Persian, which is today called English walnut trees. These improvements were made through choice and cultivation methods. Very soon thereafter the Romans established the Persian walnut trees in all the major parts of Europe and much of the region that is now North Africa.

English Walnuts made their way and were introduced into the United States by Franciscan monks in the early 1800′s along the California coast. Because the English walnut orchards, that were rapidly established in Central California came from the seeds planted from those walnuts that grew in the Catholic missions, the walnuts were sold and distributed under the name ‘Mission Walnuts.’

To this very day Central California walnut tree growers still produce 99% of the total U.S. commercial English walnut supplies. Even more interesting is that 65% of the world’s supply of English walnuts are produced in California.

Walnuts have made their way into many widely used recipes. Many of the worlds most popular restaurants have menus that include walnuts in many different items. These many different items include meats, vegetables, desserts, and soups. Among these popular dishes is the world famous desert called Baklava. Which is made from walnuts, honey, and paper-thin, buttered, flakes of crust.

In general Walnut trees mature in approximately 60 years and grow to about 60 feet tall.

Another type of walnut is the Black Walnut. The Black walnut tree is an American native tree and is grown mainly from New England to Minnesota and Nebraska and southwards down to the Gulf of Mexico. The black walnut tree can grow to a height of 60 feet and can live well over 100 years. Black walnut trees are grown mainly for their value in making furniture.

Black Walnuts are indeed harvested in considerably large quantities to use in baking, ice cream, and in candy recipes. The nuts can be easily shelled into large pieces if soaked overnight in water. Black walnuts are known for their crunchy flavor, which is distinctively spicy and enriched in its oil content.

Article Source: ABC Article Directory

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