Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homemade Candied Walnuts


As a part of our mission to live off the land and be as self sufficient as we reasonably can, we harvested the walnuts off our land.

We have just 3 acres and 3 (that I know of) walnut trees. And an UNBELIEVABLE amount of walnuts! 

This was the first time I have harvested walnuts. My husband watched his father and uncles do it growing up, but it was also a first for him. I used to think of walnuts as the giant annoying balls in the yard that left black stains on everything that touched them. But now, with my new mindset, I saw food. I mean seriously, do you know how much we eat store bought nuts? 

So, we started by collecting them. The kids loved this part, especially the younger ones. We went into the yard with a 5 gallon bucket and picked up all the walnuts we could find. We had to do this a few times over a period of about 2 weeks. It took that long for them to all fall off the tree. And yes, we had to wait for them to fall. Our trees are really tall. 

So, after we collected a few bucket loads I dumped them in the driveway. This works best on a gravel driveway since the colors can stain. Then we drove over them for about a week. This gets all the green outer coat off the nut, cleans them quite nicely and allows them to dry for a while. 

After they were clean we collected them again; this time off the driveway. And I left them in the 5 gallon buckets a few more weeks. 

After weeks they finally look like walnuts! 

Then it was FINALLY time to get crackin'. Literally, we had a lot of nut cracking to do! 

We borrowed my in-laws walnut cracker, which was a Godsend! 

It's probably an antique, but it sure works!

After all the cracking was done I had about 10 cups of nuts per 5 gallon bucket of shelled nuts.

And so... I made my very first batch of candied walnuts.

Mine are homemade and homegrown, but yes you can of course, buy your walnuts and candy them at home.

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups of walnuts

1/2 cup of sugar

A sprinkle of salt

What to do:
Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350. And spread a lay of wax paper out on a cookie sheet.

Toast the walnuts: Lay the walnuts out in a single layer on a cookie sheet (not the wax papered cookie sheet, but a plain cookie sheet. Toast the nuts for 7-10 minutes. Check them frequently and occasionally try one to see if they are done. You don't want to burn them! Once they are done, pull them out and let them cool.

Prepare the sugar: While the nuts are cooling, put the 1/2 cup of sugar in a sauce pan on medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt you will want to stir  it frequently, then continually.

Candy the walnuts: Once the sugar is completely melted and is an amber color you can add the walnuts. Stir them pretty quick as the sugar will solidify very fast. Once the walnuts are coated you can put them on the wax paper. You will need to use two forks to spread them apart. They will clump and they will harden quickly. I had to actually brake some of mine apart.

And there you have it. Your own homemade candied walnuts.

They are delicious and addictive. You will be sure to make more!

These make excellent gifts. Just put them in pretty little jars and give to teachers, mailmen, family and friends.

Enjoy. And please comment below and let me know how your candied walnuts turned out.





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