Tis the season to get cracking! This simple method might make this time-consuming job quicker and easier.  With very few materials you can make yourself a ‘cracking board,’ which could serve you for thousands of nuts for many years. (See pictures for easy design.) Once you have made your board, align the nuts inside the slats and hammer them gently, (if you want to be fancy and precise about it, hammer with just the right strength, exactly on the pointy top end so that the four quadrants break away equally) so that only the shell will crack. Now empty in a bucket or basket and start over again. Once you have finished cracking, you can enjoy sitting down with good company and together work to separate the nuts from the shell. This is a nice opportunity to be productive and social at once!

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Here in Transylvania, walnuts are an important crop. First of all they are used for everyone’s favorite traditional Christmas pastries: a special sweetbread with a cinnamon, walnut, sugar, butter mixture swirled in.   Also they serve as a local currency. Especially the wandering Roma tradespeople will barter their wares, anything from sugar, cooking oil, pots and pans; precisely the things that farmers cannot grow them selves, for nuts that the farmers have collected from their trees.

It is said that walnuts have many positive effects on human health, ranging from promoting heart health, preventing cancer and diabetes, to boosting brain functioning and reducing stress and insomnia. The bounty of omega 3 fatty acids alone makes it a wonderful food.

An old proverb goes; “ a handful of walnuts a day, keeps the doctor away!”

So, if you have some land, plant a Walnut tree, and in a mere 15 years, you can have a supply of nuts for some 45 years!