Kitchen Tip- How to Shell Nuts Easily

PhotobucketMy friend has a walnut tree in her backyard. Though walnut season is over by at least a month, probably more, yesterday I went over to her house and came home with a small haul of walnuts, even though, when looking at the tree, it looks like there is nothing left.

Here's a trick I figured out how to crack walnuts and other walnuts easily.

If you're saying why is a trick needed, well, if you know how to crack nuts well, good for you, but I and many didn't know how to do it properly. In the past, when I'd use a nut cracker, the nuts would often escape the nut holder and fly across the room. And if they stayed in the nut cracker, usually the whole nut would be smashed to smithereens, and you'd have to pick out bits of nuts from the shards of shell.
If you don't have a nut cracker, you might be tempted to use a hammer, but from experience, the same thing exactly happens- the nut either flies away or gets smashed to smithereens.

Here's a trick I figured out to get the nuts out easily, without it flying across the room, and without smashing the nut meat to smithereens. I'm sure I didn't make this up and lots of people already do this, but for those that don't, I figured its worth a share.
First off, about those walnuts. There were very few left on the tree. Most of them were on the ground, and they didn't look very good at all!


This was one of the better looking ones. Other ones were wet and soggy. That's fine- those are also good.

All you have to do is peel off the icky black peel to expose the brown shell beneath to get the walnut we recognize and love.

And the brown shell may look less than perfect, but that's also ok!


All you need to shell them easily is a hammer, a towel, your walnuts, and a hard, smooth, stable surface. I use my marble stairs.


Just place the nut on the towel, cover with the other half of the towel, and give a light hit to the nut. You can do a lot at a time- in fact, more nuts makes it easier. The towel stops the nuts from flying away.


Open up the towel and check to see if the shell has a decent sized crack. If it doesn't, repeat and hit a little harder, until it has a crack in it that you can reach your nails into. Don't hit them very hard from the beginning, because this will be what will cause your nut to get smashed to smithereens. A medium strength hit.


Pull apart the shell and take out the walnut. If you aren't able to take out the walnut entirely because the shell is in the way, again, cover with a towel, lightly tap, until the rest of the shell has a crack in it and you can take out the nut in its entirety.


See? Easy!

The same trick works for almost all nuts that you want to shell. Towel, firm surface, tap with a hammer, pull apart.

That's it!

Now, is it cheaper to buy walnuts already shelled or not?

Now that'll have to be covered in a future post.

P.S. Those icky walnuts- about 85% of them were good. There were the occasional walnuts with bugs in it or otherwise bad, like moldy, etc... But for the most part, they were totally fine.

So, tell me, did you know this trick already? Or do you have another way to make sure your nuts don't fly across the room or get smashed to smithereens?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Great post and now I am wanting you to write on the easy way for taking husks off of corn. Sometimes there is a box at the store for doing it there before the check out, but usually I am in a rush to get home. We live near a farmer's market and I also can get a whole box of corn so reasonably, but don't want the hastle of taking the husks off.


      This DOES work!

  2. Take two walnuts in one hand and squash them together (crack them on each other), no need for hammers, towels, or nut crackers.

    1. wow, you're strong.

    2. yeah try that with macadamian nuts

  3. If you want to store some of your fresh walnuts, you have to let the dry, otherwise they become mouldy. And the hulls can be used to make ink (perhaps you supposed that after trying to wash your hands when you peeled the nuts). I crack my walnuts on a heavy mortar, set upside down and I use the pestle to crack them, no need for using a cloth. The trick is to use something heavy, so it's the weight what does the job and not the speed.

  4. But your still not getting them out whole, or in two halves

  5. Cool way of opening

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