First Pick Your Nuts

12 Oct

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It’s Autumn, it’s walnut season and my chum, artist Melanie Ezra, has discovered some walnut trees near her home. She gave me some she picked. I read somewhere that walnut skins make very good ink, so I’ve started to prepare them. I have an allergy to walnuts, they interfere with my breathing, so I wore rubber gloves, which is a good idea anyway because a dark brown liquid oozes out as soon as the skin is pierced and it stains.

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I cut the skins out and then scrubbed the nuts to remove the mushy brown stuff that was sticking to them. It was hard to remove so I rubbed them hard with a metal scourer. Although the skin and pulp are fairly soft, the nuts are hard and wrinkled.

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You can see how much they stained the yellow gloves. Tomorrow I’ll be putting the skins into a slow cooker to extract the ink.

11 Responses to “First Pick Your Nuts”

  1. mrsdaffodil at 19:01 #

    Very enterprising of you, to go through all this. I just buy the stuff from an art supplier. I saw a squirrel passing by my window yesterday, with a large walnut stuffed in his (her?) mouth, green husk and all. The squirrel deposited the walnut in one of the holes left by my dandelion digging efforts (yes, I know I should fill the holes). Maybe I’ll have a walnut tree one day!

  2. Nancy Farmer at 11:34 #

    very interesting! Didn’t know you could do that with walnuts.
    If you find some oak apples (oak galls, of course, not apples), you can make iron gall ink – always wanted to try that, too and only lately realized that the only other ingredient that you need – ferrous sulphate – I have a large box of, and only use a teaspoon now and then in a sporadic attempt to make a certain rhododendron bush happy which I have got. Unfortunately I’ve not seen oak galls for years – don’t seem to walk past any oak trees.

    • Rosie Scribblah at 12:04 #

      John Pindar and I were saying that we haven’t seen galls for a long time. Wonder what’s happened to them?

      • Nancy Farmer at 12:31 #

        Yes I saw that afterwards. They are made by a kind of insect – perhaps the insect is in decline? Though like I say I just don’t seem to go past oak trees around here – used to when i lived in Suffolk and there were oak galls on them: I remember it distinctly because my partner, sister, and brother in law were all there on a walk one time and they stopped and said what are those and all denied ever having heard of such things!!

  3. Have you ever tried using oak galls? That’s meant to be a traditional one but I haven’t seen any galls for years.

    • Rosie Scribblah at 09:28 #

      No I haven’t seen any for years either. I wonder why? They used to be very common

  4. allesistgut at 07:49 #

    How interesting to extract ink from walnut skins. I’m really excited to see more! Have a happy Monday!

  5. Mary Donato at 23:32 #

    I’ve always wanted to try this! I’ll be watching to see how you do it. I think I can scavenge some walnuts from trees in the neighborhood. So, it’s the husks on the outside that you stew?

    • Rosie Scribblah at 00:34 #

      Yes that’s right. There’s another method where you leave the husks to rot, but that takes a long time and smells 😊

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