Resources > Food > Culinary Nuts > Walnuts

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A Walnut is not technically a Nut but actually an edible, round drupe fruit of any Walnut Tree (of the genus Juglans). Noted cultivars of the Walnut Tree are the Persian Walnut Tree, the Black Walnut Tree and the English Walnut Tree. The meaty walnut is actually the single Seed or Kernel of the stone fruit encased in a two-piece, hard, outer shell which in turn is encased in a leathery, green, inedible husk. The husk will release a juice that easily stains anything it comes in contact with. The Walnut kernel is what we find in a bag of “Shelled Walnuts.”


Walnuts are available all year round.


The United States is the world's largest exporter of Walnuts and the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California produce 99% of the U.S.’s English Walnuts. Each Walnut needs about 4.9 gallons of water to reach maturity.

Walnuts are harvested and immediately placed into cool, dry storage until they are shipped to grocery stores.


Freshly harvested raw walnut seeds with water content between 2% to 8% offer the best color, flavor and nutrient density. Walnuts are harvested in the Autumn and Winter and are best at those times.

Walnuts are found at retail either shelled or still in the shell. Walnuts in the shell are typically available in bags or bulk. Shelled Walnuts are also available in bags or bulk but also can come in cans as halves, halves & pieces, pieces, chopped, etc.

When they are good, fresh Walnuts should smell mildly nutty and have a sweet taste. If the Walnuts you are considering smell at all like paint thinner, they are bad.


Walnuts, like other tree nuts, must be processed and stored properly for best flavor and best yield. Improper storage can lead to infestations of insects and mold. If any mold is detected, the Walnuts should not be consumed. Walnuts will also go Rancid if they are held too warm for too long.

For maximum Shelf Life, Walnuts should be stored in a cool dark place in an airtight container. Walnuts do best held between 27°F and 32°F (-3°C to 0°C). Freezing Walnuts can also extend their useful life.

Fresh Walnuts can be stored in their original, un-opened packaging. Once the bag is opened, the Walnuts should be transferred to an airtight container for future storage. Properly stored Walnuts can keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Frozen, Walnuts can last up to a year.

Store Walnuts away from foods with strong odors like Garlic and Onions.The Walnuts will absorb the odors and flavors of other foods.

Culinary Uses

Fresh walnuts taste and smell sweet and mildly nutty. Whole, in the shell, Walnuts should be cracked just before use to maximize their freshness and taste. Ground Walnut Meal should be handled the same way. Grind it A La Minute for the best results.

Walnut meats naturally come in many shades (from extra light to dark amber colors) and color of the meat has no bearing on the quality of the meats.  Often lighter shades are preferred for Baking applications while the more flavorful darker shades are preferred for cooking.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 t of Walnuts per person.


Anise, Cinnamon, Cumin, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Vanilla, Avocados, Carrots, Endive, Garlic, Ginger, Salads, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Bananas, Cherries, Cranberries, Dates, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Kumquats, LemonsNectarines, Peaches, Pears, Oranges, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Prunes, Pumpkin, Butter, Unsalted Butter, Buttermilk, Cheese, Blue Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Goat Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Cream, Cream Cheese, Creme Fraiche, Ice Cream, Mascarpone, Yogurt, Corn Syrup, Almonds, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Pine NutsStuffings, Molasses, Sauces, Honey, Oatmeal, Olive Oil, Chicken

Nutritional Value USDA
Amount Per 100g
Calories 654
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 65g
Saturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 47g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 2mg
Potassium 441mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 2g
Protein 15g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

English Walnuts are a high density source of Proteins (15.2%) and essential Fatty Acids. (65.2%). They even contain some Dietary Fiber (6.7%).

Unlike most Nuts, Walnuts are composed largely of Poly-Unsaturated Fat including Alpha-Linolenic Acid and Linoleic Acid. Roasting reduces Walnuts antioxidant qualities.

Walnuts are reported to improve the body’s reaction to stress, to potentially improve the body’s use of fat in overweight adults, including reducing the arterial damage of eating high fat foods. Couples seeking a pregnancy may also want to note that Walnut consumption has been shown to improve sperm health in healthy younger men.

A final note, most commercial Walnuts are harvested from the English Walnut cultivar and the nutrition notes above refer to English Walnuts. Black Walnuts are lower in Carbohydrates (only 9.9 g as compared to 13.7 per 100 g for English Walnuts) and higher in Protein (24.1 g as compared to 15.2 g per 100 g for English Walnuts).


There are a number of people who are allergic to Walnuts who can experience symptoms ranging from a rash to deadly anaphylaxis. Always be careful to alert your diners to the presence of Walnuts in your cooking.

It is also important to be aware that people with Walnut allergies may also be allergic to other Nuts, such as HazelnutsChestnutsHickory Nuts and Acorns, or to other Culinary Nuts such as AlmondsCashewsPeanuts and Pecans. Because of the likelihood of dual allergies, it is typical to advise people with Walnut allergies to avoid eating all nuts.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie