Walnut, one of the richest sources of antioxidants. Do you know how beneficial it is for the body?

Walnut, a crop rich in healthy fats and antioxidants.

It is used in gastronomy, but also in folk medicine.

Do you know how to process it and include it in your diet? You will learn everything in the following article!

Walnut, an edible seed rich in antioxidants

The walnut is the edible drupe seed of a tree of the genus Juglans (family Juglandaceae), especially the Persian or English walnut Juglans regia.

During the Byzantine era, the walnut was also known by the name “royal walnut”. It was originally known as Welsh walnut, that is, it reached Germanic speakers via France or Italy (German Walnuss, Dutch okkernoot or walnoot, Danish valnød, Swedish valnöt).

Although considered a “nut” in gastronomy and used as such, it is not a true botanical nut. It is a drupe with an edible seed. When fully ripe, the shell is thrown away and the kernel is eaten. During the ripening process, the skin becomes brittle and the shell hardens. The shell usually consists of two halves separated by a membrane partition.

Walnuts have long compound leaves with 5 to 23 short petioled leaflets. Both male and female reproductive organs are borne in different clusters of petalless flowers, known as carnations, on the same tree. The twigs characteristically contain a multichambered pith.

Why consume walnuts?

They are one of the richest food sources of antioxidants. These include ellagic acid, ellagitannins, catechin and melatonin.

In addition to antioxidants, they also contain healthy fats. Walnuts are primarily made up of protein and polyunsaturated fats. They contain a relatively high percentage of omega-3 fat, which is associated with various health benefits.

Eating these nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as improve brain function and possibly slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

They are also used in folk medicine. Walnuts were listed as one of the 38 substances used to prepare Bach Flower Remedies.

They are also used to make walnut oil. It is considered an expensive cooking oil that is often used in dressings.

You can most often eat walnuts on their own as a snack or add them to salads, pasta, breakfast cereals, soups and baked goods.

Although these nuts are very healthy, some people may develop allergies. This is caused by phytic acid, which can impair mineral absorption.

Nutritional values

Walnuts are primarily a high-quality source of healthy fats. In addition to these, they also contain a high amount of vitamin C, fiber, calcium. You can see other values in the following table:

Nutritional values Walnuts 100 g
Calorie 654 calories
Proteins 15 g
Carbohydrates 14 g
Fats 65 g
Fiber 6.7 g
Calcium 98 mg
Potassium 441 mg
Iron 2.91 mg
Vitamin C 1.3 mg

Types of walnuts

There are two main types of walnuts. These are English walnut and black walnut. We can consider both varieties as valuable trees that produce edible walnuts. Let’s introduce them!

English walnut

Also called Persian, Latin Juglans regia. Originally from Iran, they were cultivated in ancient Persia and, thanks to the travels of English traders, reached the European continent and across the ocean to America, where Franciscan monks in California discovered their nutty, delicate taste. California is currently their largest producer.

The tree produces quality walnuts only on fertile, well-drained soils of medium texture. The husks of this tree are thin and contain a tasty nut meat. As the tree matures, its bark changes from dark brown to silvery gray.

Opened English walnut fruits
Source: euforgen.org

Black walnut

Latin Juglans nigra, comes from the eastern part of North America. It has a strong flavor, but due to its hard shell and poor peeling properties, it is not grown commercially in orchards. Numerous walnut cultivars have been developed commercially, almost all of which are hybrids of the English walnut. Other species include California black walnut or Arizona walnut.

Black walnut leaves and fruits
Source: en.wikipedia.org

The black walnut contains the highest amount of protein of any tree nut. This tree produces nuts prized for their earthy flavor, and producers often harvest its wood for hardwood.

Growing walnuts

Most walnut trees reach a height of 15 m, an adult tree produces 23 to 36 kg of nuts per year. Do you know how to grow walnuts? Let’s check it out!

Growing walnuts is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of care and patience, but it is worth it in the end.

It all starts with planting a tree. It is recommended to plant the sapling in a sunny place in fertile, well-drained soil. Prepare a large hole by breaking up the soil and adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter. A wide hole is better than a very deep one. After planting, mulch and surround the trunk with a wire cage or protective tube to protect the young sapling from animal and insect pests.

After a sapling is planted, it can take five to seven years for it to become an adult. During this time, the tree must be carefully cared for. Don’t forget regular spring mulching.

Walnuts should be grown in their own orchard, away from the vegetable garden. They can limit the growth of other plants in the area because many plants (including tomatoes) are sensitive to juglone, a substance present in the roots, leaves and wood of walnuts.

Once the tree has matured, harvesting usually begins in late August. You can tell when the nuts are ready for harvest by the drying outer green skin and by the fact that they are starting to split. Remove the skin from the walnuts and dry them.

Processing walnuts

Walnuts, like other tree nuts, must be properly processed and stored. Improper storage makes them susceptible to attack by pests or fungi. The ideal temperature for long-term storage of walnuts is −3 to 0 °C (27 to 32 °F) with low humidity.

Walnuts can be eaten on their own (raw, roasted or pickled), or as part of a mixture such as muesli, or as an ingredient in a dish: eg walnut soup, walnut cake, walnut coffee cake, banana cake, cookies, fudge. If you want to bake a cake with nuts, get inspired by several recipes for walnut cakes with coffee or tea .

You can also add walnuts to recipes such as:

  • baklava
  • Circassian chicken
  • chicken in walnut sauce
  • goulash
  • meat balls
Bowl with walnuts
Source: evolvingtable.com

On hot summer days, you will definitely appreciate refreshment in the form of walnut ice cream.

Walnut ice cream

For the ice cream you will need :

  • 2 whipping creams (31%)
  • 250 ml of milk
  • 250 ml of maple syrup
  • 250 g of walnuts
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  3. After cooling, roughly chop them.
  4. Add the egg yolks to a large bowl, mix and set aside.
  5. Add maple syrup to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the syrup is reduced by a third. Then reduce the heat and stir in one cream, milk and salt.
  6. Over medium heat, whisk mixture occasionally until hot.
  7. Carefully mix the cream mixture into the yolks, do not beat and beat until smooth.
  8. Return the mixture to the stove and add more cream and cornstarch. Stir the mixture again until warm.
  9. Allow the finished mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  10. If you have an ice cream maker, follow the instructions that come with the machine. Otherwise, pour the mixture into a sealable container and leave it in the freezer overnight.
  11. Enjoy your meal!

Walnut products

Nicono – liqueur made from unripe green walnuts soaked in alcohol with added syrup.

Pickled walnuts – a traditional English dish. Pickled nuts are considered a suitable accompaniment to a dish of cold turkey or ham, as well as to blue cheese.

Walnut oil – an ideal ingredient for salad dressings. Not recommended for frying.

Studies have shown that eating walnuts reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and above all improves brain function. There are many ways you can process them and give your body a dose of healthy fats.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)