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Volunteers are the heart of 4-H. See how you can impact our youth and make a difference! Check out the 4-H Volunteers page.


The black walnuts in your backyard are healthy

Published: Monday, Oct. 3, 2016

Story source: Tammy Roberts, 660-679-4167

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – It’s the time of year when walnuts will start dropping off their trees.

“Picking these walnuts up to sell can be a great moneymaker, but don’t forget that you can actually eat those nuts,” says Tammy Roberts, University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.

“Black walnuts are a tasty, healthy addition to your diet,” she says.

The nuts aren’t quite ready to eat when they come off the tree. You need to remove the green (or brown) outer hull to reveal the shell of the nut. Be sure to wash the nut with the garden hose. That can be a messy job, so wear heavy rubber gloves. (Some people, Roberts says, just put them on the driveway and run over them until the nut is revealed.)

Leave the clean, unshelled nuts in a cool, well-ventilated area for about two weeks before cracking to get the nut meats. They are ready when the nuts break crisply.

If you look at the nutrition information from a bag of Diamond shelled black walnuts, you’ll find that ¼ cup provides 190 calories, 18 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. They also contain iron, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, zinc, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and molybdenum.

While there is a lot of fat in a quarter cup of walnuts, Roberts says, “It’s actually good fat.” There is only 1 gram of saturated fat, and the other 17 grams are the healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.

“Black walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids, which have been attributed to heart health,” she adds. Two large studies have concluded that people who ate walnuts had a lower risk of heart attack and heart disease after consuming 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) of walnuts five times per week.

Roberts says black walnuts have their own unique flavor and can be used in a variety of ways. Of course, they can be eaten alone as a snack, added to oatmeal, muffins, yogurt or ice cream, or tossed in your favorite wild rice or pasta dish.

“It can be a bit of a challenge to pick the nuts from the shell, but once you do, the storage life is a long one,” she says. “Black walnuts will stay fresh for up to one year when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and up to two years when stored in an airtight container in the freezer.”

For nutrition facts, recipes and other information about black walnuts, the MU Center for Agroforestry publication “Why Black Walnuts?” is available as a free download at

Media contact:

Milly Carter
Administrative Associate, Urban Region
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 816-252-7717

Photo available for this release:


Black walnuts.

Credit: Photo by David Stonner, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.


Don’t guess — soil tests save time and money

Soil testing is the best guide to the wise and efficient use of fertilizer and soil amendments, says Manjula Nathan, director of the MU Extension Soil Testing and Plant Diagnostic Services.

Whether you grow acres of row crops or have a vegetable patch in the backyard, a soil test will provide you with an analysis of nutrients and a set of recommendations for any improvements.

“We frequently get questions from customers like, ‘I apply fertilizer every year. How come my plants are not doing well?’” Nathan says.

“Most of the time the problem is they never have done a soil test, but have been guessing on fertilizer requirements,” she says. “They do not realize that by guessing they are wasting money by over- or underapplication, and the excess fertilizer can end up in streams, ponds and underground water, polluting the environment.”

Soil testing can be done through the extension office. The cost is $15 per sample. For more information, see these soil testing publications.

Home Preservation Newsletter

The September/October 2016 version of our KSU/MU Home Food Preservation Newsletter is now available

Topics in this edition include: 
-    It's Apple Season!
-    Updated food preservation guides in Spanish
-    Preserving Chocolate Sauce
-    Fruit Leather 

Other earlier newsletters can be found our our Nutrition and Health page

Vegetable Planting Calendar

As the days warm up, thoughts turn to getting the garden in.  Check out MU Extensions Vegetable Planting Calendar the best times to plant in our area.

Real time weather

Real time weather is provided as a service to the community with the collaboration of the Butler R-V school district, the Kansas City/Pleasant Hill National Weather Service and Bates County University of Missouri Extension.

For weather information, click the weather logo.


Journal your garden

The most challenging aspect of successful gardening just might be the difficulty recalling what worked and what didn't from year to year.  Many gardeners believe the keys to successful gardening are getting your plans on paper first and keeping records. MU Extension publication MP928, From Seed to Harvest and Beyond: Garden Journal and Calendar gives you an easy way to record your garden plans, observations and ideas.

The publication also includes year-round resources to guide gardeners at all experience levels. Written by MU Extension horticulture specialists who teach Master Gardeners, this publication brings your reliable and relevant information.


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