Black Walnuts Growing Wild, Gaining Fans

Black Walnuts Growing Wild, Gaining Fans

Food & Drink

Black Walnuts Growing Wild, Gaining Fans


With today’s consumers becoming more concerned about chemicals and processes impacting foods, the American Black Walnut stands apart as a unique and wild American crop–grown free from orchards or pesticides. In fact, you may have some rolling around in your back yard right now. Unlike regular (English) walnuts, Black Walnuts grow on wild trees, and are 100% natural, sustainable, and hand-harvested by locals. Even the hard outer shell is repurposed for environmentally-friendly cosmetics and cleaning products.

To some, Black Walnuts are the nostalgic taste of family holidays. To others, they’re an entirely new, bold crunch in baked goods, entrées, vegetable dishes, and more. Those wanting to explore the full range Black Walnut recipes can visit for cooking demonstrations and product information.

Interest in Black Walnuts may be at an all-time high these days, as the wild nuts show up everywhere from hip urban venues to home-style family gatherings. Although they’ve been part of American cooking since the earliest days, Black Walnuts have gained recent attention due to strong consumer demand for whole, natural ingredients and new unexpected tastes.

Bakeries in Chicago and St. Louis conduct taste tests and feature Black Walnut treats.

Recently the Bittersweet Pastry Shop in Chicago and Bittersweet Bakery in St. Louis were selected for Black Walnut taste tests. The firm chose the bakeries due to their vibrant markets and opinion-leader customers and staff. The two bakeries developed and tested an array of pastries featuring Black Walnuts, including Black Walnut Tea Bread, Layer Cake, Torte,Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookie, and Chocolate Soufflé Cookie.

The products were well received by both new and lifelong Black Walnut fans, with the majority of respondents saying they “would likely purchase the products again,” and “would like to see Black Walnuts in even more varieties of bakery foods.” (Source: Consumer Appeal and Sales Potential of the American Black Walnut, The Hollingsworth Group, Inc., September 2010). In fact, the popularity of Black Walnut Tea Bread led to sales of whole loaves in Chicago.

In addition, Black Walnut recipes have recently been featured on cooking segments of WGN Lunchbreak and ABC 7 Chicago, as well as two webcasts and live cooking demonstrations on Kenmore Live! in Chicago.

Harvesting, processing, distribution, and marketing of Black Walnuts is performed primarily by Hammons Products Company of Stockton, Missouri.

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