Saturday, November 15, 2008

How to Break Walnut Shells Cleanly in Half


I am posting this here, because, I promised it on my Children's Blog, but I don't really want children reading the instructions. It involves a sharp knife, so I am providing links between the two posts.
I have read that the way to do this is by slipping a steak knife into the stem end of the walnut shell and working/wiggling it around the natural split. This does work, too, one time out of 50! So my thinking was that if I roasted the walnuts first, it might give way a little easier. And that worked, too! But with a much higher success ratio! I had success in fully half of the walnuts that I tried, 13 out of 26! Not to mention that this method made the walnut hearts pictured! So here we go! Please use caution. Be very careful.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Place whole shelled walnuts in a shallow oven proof pan, single layer.
Roast walnuts for 35 minutes. Odd time, I know, but it worked for me!
Cool walnuts till you are comfortable holding them.
Carefully slip the blade of a narrow bladed steak knife (non-serrated edge) into the stem end of the walnut.
Work the blade down through the meat.
Gently but firmly start to work the blade around the natural split, being very careful not to force the knife, because you don't want to cause it to slip, and, you know, cause you to shed blood.
Clear out the meats, and you have walnut halves suitable for a lot of fun crafting, for kids and adults.

Craft Suggestions:
Toy Boat - Melt paraffin into the hollow half, stick a toothpick mast in it, slip on a paper sail, and fill the bathroom sink with water for boat races!

Thumbelina Bassinet - Cut scrap fabric to size and glue in hollow half for bed linens. Glue teenie trim around the edges. Make a teensie quilt. If you are lucky, you can still find a teenie tiny plastic doll in the babyshower favor section at your florist supply, otherwise you may have to be creative and make a Thumbelina. Polly Pocket might do!

Prize Package/Ornament - Spray paint two matching halves metallic gold. Slip a teenie prize, gift, money or message inside. Use white glue (or similar craft adhesive)to affix the halves back together. You can add a ribbon or hemp loop before you seal it up if you would like to tie it on a package, or hang it from your Christmas tree branches. These can also fill a bowl for a fun party favor, think stocking stuffers... go crazy!

The delightful things you're making!~

Mrs. Garland said...
Thank you! I make golden walnuts with little chocolates inside for a St. Nicholas gift for my 1st grade students.  {I so LOVE this!  You must be a magical teacher!}
Susan said...
I've been trying to find a way to open these little boogers without pulverizing them, thank you SO much for the info. I need to make 24 ornaments and I want to do little pirate ships!  {Oh, how I wish I could have seen this finished product!}

louise said.... {sorry, no link} I'm going to line the halves with felt, slip in ties and a hinge, then include tiny clay animals. All I needed to figure out was your trick of roasting the nuts first-- it worked perfectly! And the bonus is the nutmeats smell and taste delicious. Thanks endlessly!!  {We want to see!  How precious would those little animals be!?}

Mama Roots....
While she didn't actually leave a comment, she did provide a link back to this post . . .she has an adorable idea that includes drilling tiny holes in the shells to tie them with string . . . in case you're inclined.  She also thinks roasting them for a slightly shorter amount of time might make them less brittle . . . hmmm . . . I'll have to consider that . . .  maybe it will result in a higher success ratio? 

I'm off to restock my walnut supply!  There are children needing magical delights in their stockings!


~ Much love! ~

14 comments:

  1. Ohh I really like the surprise gift package idea... never thought of using white glue!

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  2. You are a life-saver! I looked all over the internet for ways to halve walnuts without breaking them. I'm going to line the halves with felt, slip in ties and a hinge, then include tiny clay animals. All I needed to figure out was your trick of roasting the nuts first-- it worked perfectly! And the bonus is the nutmeats smell and taste delicious. Thanks endlessly!!

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  3. I've been trying to find a way to open these little boogers without pulverizing them, thank you SO much for the info. I need to make 24 ornaments and I want to do little pirate ships, this is going to make my life a lot easier!

    Susan

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  4. Thanks so much for this great tip! I was planning on making ornaments this year and have not been successful getting nice even shell halves. You are a lifesaver!! :)

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  5. This is awesome! I made Christmas tree ornaments last night using walnut shells and wouldn't have been able to halve over 30 walnuts without this great tip. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Thank you! I make golden walnuts with little chocolates inside for a St. Nicholas gift for my 1st grade students. I have struggled with doing this each year and now - EASY (relatively!).

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  7. Thank you, Ladies! I can't tell you how much your kind words are appreciated! My Mother made little bassinettes for me, and sail boats for my brothers . . . Sweet memories . . . All of you are obviously making the same! I'm going to share your ideas in an update post! :)
    Much love!
    ~Debbi~

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  8. Thank you very much! I made some adorable baby Jesus ornaments and I used the walnut shells as the little cradle. I would love to give your blog credit because your tutorial really helped me with my walnuts! Would this be okay to do? I will probably make a YouTube video of the ornaments as well. My blog is located at http://www.HappyBirdsCraftingHaven.com

    Blessings Always,
    Lori Jean :o)

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  9. Thank you for the information! I've also heard that soaking the walnuts in water for 24 hours will help you halve them cleanly. I'll be using my walnut halves for a Miwok dice game!

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  10. Wow..after searching the internet for walnut shells for crafting, I came across your post. I'll just make my own! I am buying walnuts today to try this! I need them for my fairy houses as well as making some crafts with my grandson. Thank you!!!

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  11. I am also making a fairy gardens and was going to use the shells to make little baskets with vine handles. I was looking to buy the halves online and came across your website [and what an awesome one it is!]. Now I can make my own. After reading your posts, I am also going to make little boats for the little ponds and little bassinets for the fairy babies. I am going to make fairy gardens this summer with the teen girls from our church. I know they are going to love them! Thank you!

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  13. After destroying many walnuts last night, I found your post. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I had about a 90% success rate after following your instructions!

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  14. I just used a Dremel and used a cutting disk to cut one open it took me 10 minutes start to finish. I started at the bottom and worked up each side. After cutting the sides I broke it open and dug the meat meat out. I then took a sanding cone and sanded the inside to a nice smooth finish. Oh I also sanded the edges a little too.

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