When we first looked at this property we were pleased to see a big avocado tree in the back yard, we all love avocado – or as Norm refers to them, Alligator Pear.  My daughter and I immediately had visions of an annual avocado and wine pairing event, with a guacomole contest, avocado ice cream, and Mexican buffet with lots of avocado.

After we moved in, we wondered why the avocados weren’t getting any bigger, though the tree was loaded with fruit.  Turns out it’s an English Walnut tree.  Well, okay we thought, we like those too but not as much as avocados. 

One day Norm asked me, “When are the walnuts ripe?  When should we harvest them?”  I had no idea.  He was in L.A. on business and I phoned him one morning to announce, “The walnuts are ready to harvest.”  “How do you know?” he asked.  Because there are about 40 crows in the tree.

So that harvest is a huge chore.  Not as easy as avocados at all.  The picking is okay, but then you have to remove the husk from each nut.  You have to wear heavy duty rubber gloves because the tannins that come out of the husks will stain your fingers black.  This does NOT wash off, you just have to wait until your body replaces the old blackened skin with new.

We then put the nuts into baskets for a few weeks to dry them out before we use them for nuts to eat as snacks, in Banana Nut Bread, in pesto, and in salads.  I’ll do another post with my easy, yummy Banana Nut Bread recipe for you.