Saturday, November 7, 2015

Seedy Saturdays- The Walnut Tree

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Today we start talking about trees.

Native Americans enjoyed the pleasures and health benefits of the black walnut well before European explorers arrived. Along with eating the walnut itself, the sap was used in their food preparation.  Black walnut trees prefer soil with limestone in it, which is a good, fertile soil. Some settlers made a point of selecting properties that had a stand of sturdy black walnut trees on the land, because to them this was a sign of rich soil.  In World War II when families living in the small villages of Perigord, a region in the southern part of France, had little to eat, they turned to their walnut groves for a source of protein.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many English cookbooks were full of recipes for pickling both black and green walnuts. Green walnuts are quite sour, but ideal for pickles, jams, and marmalades.

The wood of the walnut tree is exceptionally hard, therefore very good for fine furniture, wall paneling, musical instruments, sculpting, and woodcarving. It has appeared in many forms over the decades, such as plates and spoons, animal yokes and water jugs. Even wooden shoes were formed from the walnut tree. During war times the Europeans used walnut wood to make their gun stocks and during World War I, the hardy wood of the black walnut was used for making airplane propellers.

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