Primary Colours and Walnuts

Obsessed by sky watching these past eclipsical (is that a word?) days, I found it interesting that the sky separated into the three primary colours of blue, red, and yellow. Where they overlap, there is a hint of what you get when you mix those colours – yellow and red = orange; red and blue = purple; but I couldn’t get the blue to meet the yellow for green, so not quite a rainbow effect. Still, a pretty good selection for a painter’s palette.

The black walnut (see photo below)  in our front yard has a bit of history. I bought it 25 years ago, thinking it was a walnut tree (the kind that gets walnuts on it). Well, it does get walnuts, but you have to use a sledgehammer to open them and there isn’t a whole lot of meat inside the thick, rock hard shells.

When the Captain and I planted the walnut tree, it was just a five-foot stick. Our yard was bare – no landscaping yet – and it was late February, cool and drippy. The neighbours walked past as we dug a hole in the mud and put this “stick” in the ground, and applauded. I think they thought it was a joke – poking fun at ourselves for the bare front yard.

Now, 25 years later, that stick is a beautiful black walnut. I’m guessing it’s over thirty feet tall. The walnuts are still not meant to be eaten, as it’s more of an ornamental tree. But I did go out and buy another walnut tree for the back yard. It’s almost as tall as the ornamental one but this one gets the kind of walnuts you can eat.

The two types of walnut trees have completely different leaves too.

Here, below, is the tree with edible walnuts.

In the photo below, you can see the walnuts on the tree.


They are still encased in their green shell, but those coatings break open as the nuts ripen and fall when the weather turns chilly. A nutcracker will do the trick for opening these walnuts. No sledgehammer needed.

46 thoughts on “Primary Colours and Walnuts

    • I was quite disappointed that first year when I tried to crack a walnut from the black walnut tree. I really did have to use the sledgehammer and it was slim pickings inside. I thought it was odd though that the walnuts of each taste the same, but the leaves are completely different on the two kinds of trees.

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  1. I grew up with a black walnut tree and we did use them for eating. Nobody ever told us not to! Of course, having parents that grew up in the depression, it may have been a waste not, want not sort of thing. Love your sunset photos. Even without the green. 🙂 I hope your air has cleared up some.

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  2. That’s how life works, we learn from experience. Now you have a “fruitful” tree with walnuts once you learned, but it sounds like both trees turned out to be blessings. We lost our only tree (white birch) in the storm I posted about. We can’t decide what we want to replace it, so we’re going to wait until next spring to plant something new.

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    • They have different leaves (quite different), and the black walnut is considered ornamental while the other is the traditional one used for nuts we eat. The black walnut shells are thick and very hard and there is less meat in them than the other kind of walnut has, but the flavour is the same. Very hard to get the ornamental kind open and have any meat left that isn’t mashed. 😉

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      • I beg to differ :)! The flavor is not the same at all! Black walnuts have a sweeter richer flavor. And they are so delicious in ice cream!!! But nobody eats them any more because they are too hard to open, I guess. But why can’t they be cracked professionally and put in ice cream? Too expensive these days, I am guessing. Interesting that they are considered ornamental!

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  3. Pingback: Primary Colours and Walnuts – SEO

  4. Beautiful post I missed, Anneli. I always like walnuts but we would take them and line up around the cement patio edges, spaced to get dried out. We would turn them over and wait some more. A hammer helped but that black stain is a mess if it isn’t dried enough.
    I like the flavor of pecans and almonds but haven’t had pecan trees. Nicely discussed and educational, too. 🙂

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