How to Hull Walnuts

Two Methods:Removing the Outer HullRemoving the Nutshell

Walnuts are delicious when eaten on their own or when added to a variety of baked goods. Walnuts have multiple layers, including the outer hull and the nutshell.

Method 1
Removing the Outer Hull

If your walnuts are fresh from the tree, then you will have to remove the outer hull. Look for mature nuts with yellowish green hulls. Nuts with black hulls will not have the same quality of flavor.

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    Place the whole walnut on an asphalt surface. The juices will stain a concrete surface.
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    Stomp on the walnut with your foot and twist the nut into the asphalt surface.
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    Pick up the nut and place it in a large pail.
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    Discard the hulls in the garbage or in your compost pile.
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    Spread your walnuts on a large picnic table or other flat area. Make sure that you are wearing rubber gloves to protect your skin from the juices on the nutshells and that you’re working in an area that you can get dirty.
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    Scrub the exterior of the shells with a wire brush to remove any remaining hull pieces.
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    Spread the cleaned walnuts in a single layer on a flat surface in a dark, cool, dry and well-ventilated area. Make sure that the surfaces are not touching one another.
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    Cure the walnuts for 5 to 6 weeks. If you crack a fresh walnut, then the meat will be rubbery. Curing them allows the kernel to become firm and crunchy.

Method 2
Removing the Nutshell

Walnuts are notoriously tough to crack. You can remove the shell with a nutcracker or with a hammer. Soaking the nuts will prevent the kernel from being shattered during the process of removing the shell.

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    Soak cured walnuts for 24 hours in hot water. This will soften the shell and will make it easier to crack.
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    Remove the walnut from the water. Place the walnut on a flat surface with the pointed end facing up.
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    Strike the pointed end with a hammer until the nut cracks along its axis.
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    Pull the shell apart with your fingers.
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    Place the pointed end of a nutpick under the kernel. Run the nutpick along the edges of the kernel to loosen it from the shell.
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    Place the kernel in a separate bowl. Repeat the process until you have shelled all of your walnuts.


  • Walnut kernels stored in the refrigerator will last up to 9 months, while kernels stored in the freezer will last up to 2 years. Place the kernels in a resealable plastic bag for storage.
  • Before storing kernels at room temperature, bake them at 215 degrees Fahrenheit (101 C) for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the kernels within a few weeks.


  • Walnut hulls will stain your hands, your clothing and your work surface. Make sure to wear rubber gloves when you hull walnuts and to protect your work surface from the juices.

Things You'll Need

  • Walnuts
  • Large pail
  • Wire brush
  • Hammer
  • Nutpick
  • Bowl

Article Info

Categories: Walnuts