Walnuts are one of the most energy-rich and favorite nuts of the people. And owing to their high energy value, they are mostly preferred in the winter season because the walnuts are not only the healthy button for the human brain but also reduce the chances of heart diseases.
According to a research, by eating the 45 grams of walnuts daily, can reduce 95% chances of coronary problems and increase the brain functioning because they have the ability to absorb into our diet.
There are many types of walnuts and all these types are not edible. Only a few specie is more likely to eat. To check their edibility, we have to see the scientific hierarchy of walnuts.
Scientific hierarchy of walnuts:
The scientific term used for the walnuts is Juglans spp. It has further 20 sub-species. Walnuts are those types of trees, which act as an attractive verdure as well as succulent, among them the black walnut (J. nigra) and the other one is California black walnut (J. hindsi).
How to sprout the walnuts? – 15 Steps
The soft-fleshed nuts, along with their compound leaves, sprout a seedling of walnut. They can easily germinate by using the fresh nuts but the nuts must be thoroughly cleaned and soaked in cold storage (a process named as stratification).
Stratification, is the method of placing the nuts or seeds under the moist sand by forming their layers at a temperature above the freezing point for germination of the nuts. After the perfect and swift successful soaking, the walnuts will be ready to sprout to produce new nuts.
The walnuts will be sprouted by the first autumn because the fall season is best for the optimum conditions, i.e., good for germination.
We can use the fresh seeds/nuts of walnuts for the sprouting because the seeds have the ability to germinate rapidly and thus, can be transplanted within next one year by following many steps.
Following are the steps which are involved in the sprouting of walnuts:
Step 1- Collecting the walnuts:
First of all, for the sprouting of walnuts, we need to collect the walnuts directly from the tree instead of collecting them from the ground. And this step is done especially, in the mid-autumn.
But the nuts inside must be pest-free or any other damage and the husk of the nuts should be of dark-brown colour so that, it can easily be splited.
Step 2- Soaking the walnuts:
Second step is soaking of walnuts in clean water, in an empty bucket. Then, cover the bucket and allow them to soak for about 24 to 48 hours to unlatch the outer covering of the walnuts.
After that specific period of soaking, if any of the walnut wafts on the surface of the water, remove them off and pour out the water.
Then, save the soaked walnuts for drying, by gentle heating at the temperature of about 43-44 degree Celsius. This step is essential because it will increase the shelf-life of walnuts, and a little amount of moisture left inside it, will lead to the growth of molds.
Step 3- Checking the emerging roots of the walnuts:
Third step is to check the maturity of the walnuts by dividing the walnut husks into two halves. While collecting the walnuts from the water, wear the waterproof gloves before this step to protect your hands from the releasing stains and allergic reactions.
Then, notch out the walnut husks by using some sharp scalper and peel them off, forming two halves of the walnuts. After that, you will observe the emerging roots from the mid of the halves which are ready for the further process of planting.
Step 4- Storing the walnuts at low temperature:
Fourth step is known as stratification. This is the most critical and important step. In this step, put all the above cleaned walnuts in a closed poly bag with suitable moisture content with the sand and then, closed the poly bags.
After that, set a constant temperature, i.e., slightly above the freezing point. Then, place the poly bag in the cold refrigerator for about 90 to 120 days over the winter season.
Step 5-Sowing the walnuts:
Fifth step is sowing the walnuts in a large container (in case of several walnut husks), otherwise, one walnut in one small transparent container, such that two parts cover the garden soil, one part again the moist sand and only one part of leaf molds.
Here, the one part of leaf-molds will work as the moisturizer and growth enhancer for the young seedlings, that will protect the sapling at the time of low rainfall, so, mix them well.
Sow each walnut in each container by ploughing about 4-inches deep crater in the mixture of the soil. And once again, throw some soil over it.
Step 6-Placing the container into the sunlight:
Sixth step is just to place the container of walnut into the busked sun, water it daily by observing whether the water would go up to 4-inches deep into the soil of the container or not.
But make sure that the moisture content is stable and allow the top layer of soil to dry while watering. This will ensure that water is sweeping down to the roots.
Step 7- Checking the temperature:
Seventh step is to observe the temperature of the container. It should be above 21 degree Celsius. The range of the optimum temperature for this step is from 21-28 degree Celsius. But if temperature drops to below 21, then use additional bottom heat propagation Mat.
This heat propagation Mat is the alternative method to balance the temperature, which can enhance germination along with the growth of the seedling by increasing the temperature.
Set the temperature up to 26-27 degrees Celsius. Then, wrap the container with a plastic sheet again to increase the heat inside the container for the maintenance of required temperature.
Step 8- Checking the germination and then, planting:
Eighth and the last step is to observe the germination process at least about after five weeks, then, unfastened the plastic sheet when the walnuts begin to sprout after the five weeks.
Now, change the temperature slightly by placing the container in a slightly dampy area and water it when required. So, the moisture content and water activity will remain stable.
Now the main task in this step is to select a suitable site with loamy soil for transferring of the little new seedling into a warm-bed like soil but have a very swift drainage, especially, in the mid of autumn. The pH of the soil should be approx. 6-6.5.
After that, plant the growing seedlings into the soil and again make a thick layer of about 4-inches soil for its protection. In the case of many walnut seedlings, space them about 20-25 feet apart while planting and water them.
After a yearly growth, tree will show the growth of walnuts, but will still a growing plant, which needs water and other essential nutrients for its proper growth.
After germinating and planting the walnut sapling into the safe site, it is important to observe it from time to time.
Now, the next thing – How to maintain and protect the seedling of the walnuts?
So for the maintenance and protection of the seedling of the walnuts that are planted in the soil, the following are some important points you need to know.
Step 9- Watering the tree:
First of all, water the planted walnut trees occasionally. At the stage of the sapling, water it at least twice but when it becomes a tree, water it when soil becomes dry or on very warm weather. Two years after planting the walnut trees, water them weekly.
Step 10- Getting rid of weeds:
Next is to remove the weeds that are growing around the walnut trees. As, there are different types of weeds that begin to compete with the walnut tree for water and nutrition and as a result, block the availability of these things to the walnut tree.
That’s why, their removal is necessary either by our hands or by using the laying fabric weed barrier. In case of a fully grown walnut tree, use the compost for it because it provides nutrients to the walnut tree as well as block the growth of weeds.
But the main precaution in this step is that, do not use the compost material for the little seedling because the rotten material can hinder the growth of the little seedling of the walnut tree. So, wait for some time when the seedling develops the woody nature or roots.
Step 11- Testing the soil:
After some weeks under observation, take some soil sample and send it to the laboratory for testing the deficiency of essential nutrients, present in the soil of walnut tree.
And if the tests show the deficiency of some minerals that must be included in the soil, then, provide the sapling the required minerals, either in the form of leafy molds or other source.
Use fertilizers, when the trees have grown from sapling stage. The fertilizer must contain the organic compounds and some important macro-elements like nitrogen, super phosphorus, and potash, which are essential for the growth of trees.
Step 12- Protecting the trees from the pests:
Another point is to check the presence of the insects and pests. Some flies, termites, caterpillars, and aphids etc, mostly can grow on the walnut trees. They can also cause harm to the trunk of the tree as well as the husks of walnuts on the tree.
Moreover, squirrels also can also present on them to cause harm to the walnut tree. Even they can eat the whole bunch of the walnuts. That’s why, it is important to save the walnut tree also from them.
So, for the protection of the walnut tree from the pests and squirrels, wrap the trunk of the tree with some sheet to create hinderance from climbing on the tree. This is one of the safest methods to save the walnut tree from the pests.
Step 13- Pruning the walnut tree:
Another point is pruning, if you are growing the walnut tree for timber purpose, prune it carefully, to get straight trunk for timber, but the texture of the tree should be woody. Pruning cannot be done on the sapling due to the clumsy and fragile branches.
Step 14- Providing safety to nearby plants and trees:
Next is to keep other plants and trees distant from the walnut trees because the trees release some toxic hormones which can protect the walnut trees but can be harmful for other plants.
On raining, the toxic compounds begin to leach out inside the soil and then, mixed with the water table, and, the same water mixed with these compounds can be consumed at the same time, by other nearby trees and plants.
Step 15- Harvesting of walnuts:
After germinating, planting, caring, and then, ripening of the walnuts, garnering is the main task. Walnuts are produced in the green husks but when the walnuts internally ripened, they begin to turn into blackish brown colored nuts.
Because the green husks are not for eating, that’s why, the walnuts should be detached from the husks when they reach on maturity level, i.e., when the woody textured shells around the walnuts have developed.
The walnuts can be gathered either from the ground or from picking them from the walnut tree and then, must be harvested from the husks as the oils can penetrate into the nut shell and can destroy the walnut by producing molds inside it. So, take them out as soon as possible.
During the harvesting, it may be difficult to detached the nuts from the husks, so, soak them again for some time to get the nuts free from the husks, and then, dry the walnuts to make them hard and crispy.
This can be checked by breaking the septum of the walnut; to get two halves of the walnut. Now, the dried walnuts are ready for our eating and storing.
If the nuts are safe and good, then, keep on removing the woody fabric shell from other walnuts and store them at cool and dry place. The harvesting can be started from late September through October.
After that, store them in a manually woven cloth but avoid them to keep in plastic bags. Thus, the walnuts can be stored in the refrigerator for about 6 months, and inside their shells, they can be stored for about 3 years.
Nutritional value of walnuts:
Walnuts are a rich source of nutrition as it contains a huge amount of fats and it is obvious that fats have double amount of energy other than that of carbohydrates and proteins.
So, one can eat about 2-3 walnuts in a day to avoid the risk of diarrhoea because they have high content of calories too.
Walnuts have gargantuan amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), along with some essential fatty acids, omega-3, proteins (about 4-6 grams per ounce), vitamin-E, biotin, and many other important compounds.
All these important molecules and minerals are advantageous to our health. The walnuts can also be taken along with the fresh fruits, this will boost up the energy into our body. Some of the health advantages of eating walnuts are:
- They are rich in anti-oxidant activity, which helps in the lowering of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and thus, ultimately reduces the atherosclerosis.
- They have a high source of essential fatty acids, omega-3, that lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Inflammation caused by different diseases, like, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Diabetes-2 disease due to high oxidative stress, that can be lowered by the walnuts as magnesium and fatty acids are present inside it, which can reduce oxidative stress.
- Walnuts are a good source of calories, thus, eating the walnuts are the best option for losing weight by reducing the hunger.
- Moreover, walnuts can enhance the functioning of male reproductive system, control the blood pressure, decrease the aging process and thus, are helpful in the reduction of anxiety and depression.
Importance of sprouting:
As people all over the world eat the walnuts in the sprouted form and enjoy the winter season especially due to their especial, distinctive and healthy coverage. Because, as the growth of walnuts starts and enhances, the protective hormonal system also activates.
The nuts present inside the husk is protected naturally by releasing the different types of inhibitors, for example, the Black walnut (Juglans nigra), which can produce a transparent chemical, known as hydrojuglons and it is non-toxic in nature.
This hormone is released by the bark, husk and even leaves of the walnuts but when this hormone exposes to the air or soil particles, it changes into its oxidized form, which is known as allelo-chemical juglone.
Allelo-chemical juglone is very toxic in nature, and it is released to protect the walnuts from any damage. All these pouring out harmful hormones (for the people), indicates the importance of sprouting as it makes the walnuts, safe to eat.
Other toxins are also produced, which help the walnut to sprout at mature stage. After raining, these toxic hormones are leached out from the leaves and husk of walnuts. Now, the walnut husks are ready to sprout properly because rain provides a good environment for the growth.
After this process of soaking, the two main compounds that gets reduced are, phytic acid and tannins. These compounds are safe for the walnut trees but are extremely dangerous for the humans.
Phytic acids are present in all plants but in walnuts, their quantity is 0.2-6.7%. Phytic acids are mostly termed as food inhibitor because of its property of removing minerals from the plants.
Owing to its property of forming chelates of the micro-nutrients, thus, block the availability to the monogastric organisms, like, humans because humans lack the enzyme phytase to digest it. But it acts as storage house of phosphorus for the leaves.
Tannins, another anti-nutritious compound, are water-soluble phenol-derivatives plant’s secondary metabolite, also present in the leaves, barks and nut shells. Tannins, present in plants, help in protecting the plant against the bacterial and fungal infection.
But they also have the property of stringency, which causes toxicity in the humans over its consumption, because upon its ingestion, they bind with proteins, form different complexes and precipitate the protein.
These compounds are easily removed from the walnut husks, when the walnuts are soaked in the water to make them edible and if these are not removed, they can form chelates with valuable minerals and when these are consumed, they block the gut for mineral absorption.
For example, tannin, which is present in the skin of walnuts, it will be removed upon soaking. The percolation of these phytic acid and tannin forms a black water river. As, the water that contains these dissolved compounds adopt the blackish-brown colour.
The inhibitory enzymes, are also been drained off upon soaking. Because these enzymes can disturb our digestive system. Due to removal of these compounds, walnuts become easy to digest by unchaining the trapped minerals in the walnut.
Moreover, due to the soaking of walnuts and removing these toxic compounds and enzymes, many other essential and health beneficial enzymes are also produced by having the property of unlocking many essential vitamins, for example: Vitamin B.
Sprouting of walnuts is done by taking fresh seeds or walnuts, soaking them for about 2 days, then, upon emerging the roots from them, place them in stratification condition for about 4 months, followed by sowing in the container, plant them in suitable soil for their growth.
After yearly growth, the tall trees of walnut yield good quality and quantity of walnuts. Sprouting, actually increases the efficiency of minerals and vitamins uptake, as the toxic compounds are removed from them. This will declare the walnuts safer and easier to digest.
Moreover, walnuts itself, a very good source of energy along with essential ingredients which can boost up our immunity by lowering the chances of various diseases, like, heart diseases, aging, mental distortion, and blood pressure, etc.