Q: I've heard walnuts have a lot of fat. Should I cut walnuts from my diet if I am trying to lose weight?
A: No. Walnuts contain the “good” fat that our bodies need -- polyunsaturated fat, which contains essential omega-3 fatty acids. We recommend replacing some of the fat in your current diet with walnuts. Additionally, walnuts are energy-dense foods that provide a feeling of satiety and fulfillment. When included in a calorie-controlled diet they may actually improve dieting success.
Q: How many walnuts do I need to eat in order to reap their benefits?
A: We usually recommend a "handful" of walnuts a day to get a full serving of nutrients. For most people this is 1 1/2 to 2 ounces per day (about 8 - 10 walnut halves)
Q: I can't think of any good ways to use walnuts. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Walnuts are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into almost any dish where you want to add texture or flavour. In addition to the more traditional baking recipes, walnuts are a great addition to salads, pastas, stir-fries, desserts, sauces or as a simple snack.
Q: What is walnut oil and how can I use it?
A: The walnut is around 70 per cent oil. In ancient times the walnut oil was prized as a drying oil for paint, and Michaelangelo even used it to paint the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The French, who are world-renowned in the kitchen, prize walnut oil as the very best oil for salads and cuisine. Today you will find walnut oils produced in California that rival the best in the world. Check out our suppliers list if you are looking for commercial supplies. You can find California-produced walnut oils in your supermarket shelf and also in gourmet shops.
Q: How do I store walnuts?
A: Keep shelled walnuts tightly sealed and refrigerated or store in your freezer for up to one year. In-shell walnuts will remain fresh for several months when stored in a cool, dry place. Do not shell until ready to use. Take special care when storing walnuts with other foods as they sometimes can absorb odours from other foods.
Q: How do I know when a walnut has spoiled?
A: Take a whiff of the nuts and if you smell an odour like paint, your walnuts have turned rancid or have oxidized.
Q: How do I roast/toast walnuts?
A: The Following Methods:
Method 1: bake at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, checking frequently.
Method 2: spread walnuts in a single layer in a microwave safe plate. Microwave on HIGH for 5-6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
Method 3: cook walnuts in a dry skillet on HIGH for 3-5 minutes.
Q: When is the walnut harvest?
A: In California, the harvest begins in September and goes to early November.
Q: When are walnuts available?
A: Walnuts are readily available all year long.
Q: When and where can in-shell walnuts be purchased?
A: In-shell walnuts are more readily available around the holiday season, but can be found year-round. They are normally found in cello packs and in bulk nut bins in the supermarkets.
Q: Are organic walnuts available?
A: Yes. A
limited number of California Walnut growers produce certified organic
walnuts. Learn about California's Certified Organic Farmers
CCOF (www.ccof.org) which
is a world standard.
Q: Where are California Walnuts grown?
Walnuts thrive in the rich lands of the Valleys of the "Golden State." The
majority of orchards can be spotted in the San Joaquin and Sacramento
Valleys along Interstate 5 or Highway 99.
Q: What is the difference between a black and an English walnut?
A: All of the product referred to on this web site are "California Walnuts" which are also referred to as the English walnut, Persian walnut or Juglans Regia.
The black walnut is a native American species.
The black walnut is used mainly as a rootstock for English walnuts. The meats are tasty, but these walnuts are hard to crack and remove from the shells. Additionally, black walnuts have a lower amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
Q: What is the difference between dark and light walnuts?
A: Walnut meats naturally come in different shades, from the extra light to dark amber colours. In fact, you can find dark and light walnuts on the same tree or in the same orchard. In general, commercial bakeries prefer the lighter shades because their appearance is often more desirable while ice cream companies prefer the darker shades because they often have a more intense flavour.
Q: Where can I get information about crop sizes and estimates?
A: The California Walnut crop is estimated each year by the California Agricultural Statistics Service (CASS). CASS releases an objective crop estimate each September before the start of the harvest season. After the season, a crop result is updated the following February.
Q: Where can I find export/import information?
A: The Walnut Marketing Board/California Walnut Commission posts monthly shipments on our sister site www.walnuts.org in the Monthly Management Report. Current and past information is available.
Q: What are the varieties of walnuts grown in California?
A: There are 37 varieties of walnuts grown in California. However, four varieties account for over 80 per cent of total production: Chandler, Hartley, Payne and Serr. Here are some fast facts on a few of the many walnuts found in California…
This large, smooth, oval nut is harvested mid-season. Its good shell seal, excellent kernel colour (90 per cent light grade) and high fruitfulness (fruit found on 80 to 90 per cent of lateral buds) make it a popular choice. These nuts are found on a moderately vigorous, semi-upright, medium-sized tree and are pollinized by Cisco and Scharsch Franquette.
The most widely planted walnut variety in California, the Hartley needs 40 to 45 foot spacing for its mature trees. Its kernels are 90 per cent light, its tree size is medium to large, and in fertile soil it spreads moderately with good vigour. Acceptable pollinizers are the late blooming Amigo and Scharsch Franquette.
Harvested early in the season, the Payne nut is medium to small in size. Its shell seal is very good and these nuts average 48 per cent kernel with approximately 50 per cent light. The yield potential is high to very high and approximately 80 to 90 per cent of the lateral buds are fruitful. This productive tree requires heavy pruning when young to avoid overbearing.
With a mid-season harvest, this nut is large in size with a fair to good shell seal. The kernel is 60 per cent light and the percentage of kernel is high at 59 per cent. When Serr is planted on shallower, heavier, less fertile soil, it seems to bear better. The Serr tree size is large and requires a spacing of at least 40 feet. It spreads moderately and its vigour is good to excessive. Suitable pollinizers include Chico and Tehama.
These walnuts are found on a small, upright, early harvest, highly productive tree. Though small in size, this nut has an excellent kernel quality. It is well suited for high-density plantings because the trees are small and there is a very high percentage of lateral pistillate bloom (90 to 100 per cent). It is pollinized by Payne, Serr or Sunland.
Cisco walnuts are grown on a semi-upright, small tree. The main role of Cisco is to pollinize Chandler and Howard walnuts.
This tree bears heavily, and the nut is thin-shelled, medium-sized, and cracks out at about 40 per cent kernel.
These medium-sized, elongated walnuts with a good shell seal are found on a very large tree that is harvested early to mid-season.
This late-leafing Californian variety is good for areas with late spring frosts and has very high-quality timber. Unfortunately, its late flowering also means it misses the pollen shed by other varieties, so nut set and yields are often poor. It may be worth trying to pollinize this variety with 'Mayrick' or 'Rex.’ Most Californian varieties are susceptible to walnut blight, and are therefore poorly suited to wet and humid areas, but Franquette seems to have some degree of blight resistance. Franquette is a terminal bearer with large, attractive nuts and a 31 per cent crackout.
This large, round, smooth nut has a good seal and is harvested mid-season. The kernel quality is excellent at 90 per cent light, and the kernel crackout is 50 per cent. It is a good candidate for high-density plantings due to its small to medium size, semi-upright positioning and moderate vigour. It is pollinized by Cisco or Scharsch Franquette.
This relatively small tree (30 feet high) makes the Pedro a particularly desirable walnut for the home gardener. Because it is self-fertile, and needs 400 hours of winter chill, it is not suited to areas with late frost. The nut is both well-sealed and particularly liked when tested in consumer taste panels.
This heavy and reliable producer is Anthracnose-resistant with a large nut and a 35 per cent crackout.
This small, well-sealed, good quality, light kernel nut is harvested late in the season. The large, upright tree with moderate to high vigour requires 40 to 50 foot spacing and is a good pollinizer for Hartley and Chandler.
This partially self-fertile tree produces heavy crops of medium-sized, nice-flavoured, well-filled nuts.
The large Tulare walnut is well-sealed and round with a big kernel inside. Harvested mid-season, the Tulare requires no pollinizer. This upright, moderately vigorous tree is suitable for hedgerow and other high-density planting systems.
With an early to mid-season harvest, the medium-sized, pointed Vina nut has a good shell seal, good kernel colour (60 per cent) and a 48 per cent kernel. This small to medium-sized tree with moderate vigour is highly productive and pollinized by Chico, Chandler, Howard and Tehama
Q: What is the nutritional breakdown of walnuts?
A: Walnuts contain a wide variety of nutrients including numerous vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, thiamine, vitamin B6, foliate, magnesium, copper and zinc. They are a plant source of protein that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol-free. See our nutrient profiles for more details.
Q: I have high cholesterol and my doctor has recommended I increase my omega-3 intake. I'm a vegetarian so eating fish is out of the question. What are my options?
A: Walnuts are
an important plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. High intake of this
essential fatty acid has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular
disease. Walnuts are one of the few good plant sources of omega-3s. Just one
ounce of walnuts contains 2.57 grams.