Walnuts in California
English Walnuts have been grown in California since Spanish Padres brought them from Europe in the late 1700’s; the varieties found in California orchards today are refinements of varieties developed by Luther Burbank a century later.
Burbank’s work led to trees that produce abundant clusters of fruit in shells hard enough to protect nutmeat quality, but yielding enough to crack for ease of fruit enjoyment.
Growing and Harvesting
Protective green hulls encompass walnuts during the growing stage. As the nut matures, the hull cracks and dries, indicating maturity. After harvest, the hulls are removed and the in-shell walnuts are dried in a hot air chamber to reduce moisture and preserve quality. The walnuts are then delivered to packers to be sold in-shell or as nut meats.
Handling and Storage
Proper handling is necessary to preserve freshness and quality. In-shell nuts may be stored for up to a year if they have been properly dried. Shelled nut meats are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Toasting enhances the nuts’ flavor.
Did You Know?
Walnuts are highly nutritious, providing protein, as well as antioxidants, and a high dose of Omega-3 essential fatty acids associated with lowering the risk of heart disease—in fact, walnuts have earned the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark, certifying walnuts as a heart-healthy food.
Did You Know?
California grown walnuts account for 99% of U.S. production and 66% of the world’s walnut trade.