It is still early days in the Walnut Oil production and it will be a good few years before the new Orchard reaches full production levels and until then the oil will be of limited availability even with nuts sourced from our neighbours.
In the autumn of 2014 we started a whole new Orchard and planted a 50 new named cultivars (mainly Broadview & Lara with some Franchette) to add to the 20 or so semi-mature/mature and 16 new trees in an adjacent field. In 2015 another 100 trees (50 Broadview, 25 Buccaneer & 25 Saturn) plus a couple of red kernelled Sychrov trees and this autumn (2016) we’re planting another 106 trees and replacing a few casualties from the last two years. This year we’ve added more Bucanneer and Saturn and a few more Sychrov as well as three new varieties, Red Danube, Mars and Jupiter (spot the astral theme!). The Red Danube is well known in southern Germany, Hungary and eastwards and the red kernals are apparently prized by patisseries.
Most traditional walnut plantations in Europe and around the world will concentrate on a small number of cultivars suited to their climate, soil and situation however we only have experience of small orchards in Kent in this country. The climate, soil and situation with us at the top end of the Cotswolds on Warwickshire clay is different and we really don’t know what varieties will prove the most productive, not just in crop weight but also in terms of flavour and quality. Therefore we’ve chosen to use a broad range of the varieties available commercially in the UK based on the information we’ve been able to glean that we hope is relevant, time will tell of course.
The Walnuts are gathered from under the trees at the end of September through to the middle of October unless you want to pickle them when they are picked before the middle of July, Bucanneer (famous for pickling) will hopefully perform as expected and give us another product to sell. For oil or normal eating the Walnuts are gathered from under the trees at the end of September through to the middle of October. They are then dried in open fronted south facing barns using the gentle warmth of the autumn sunshine. We don’t believe in over drying the nuts, we prefer a slightly less crunchy finish than the mass produced ones. The whole Walnuts keep perfectly well for years in airtight containers, and our Cold Pressed Walnut Oil has a beautiful fresh, young, clean walnut flavour.
Once that the walnuts have been dried they are shelled in batches, the shelled walnuts are then vacuum packed to keep their freshness. When we have a sufficient amount shelled the oil is extracted by the use of a continuous screw press. The screw press is run at a really slow speed, (around 25rpm), to keep the heat caused by friction to an absolute minimum and thus producing a truly Cold Pressed Walnut Oil.
Walnut oil is a delicate oil and best used cold, as a dressing drizzled on salad, meat and fish dishes just before serving. We love adding it along with a spoonful of honey to ice-cream and yoghurt.
Walnuts are loaded with Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, folate and thiamine. Studies have shown these following fantastic health benefits.
- Help prevent cancer: Walnuts contain many nutrients like omega 3 fatty acid, phytosterol and antioxidants which not only prevent growth of tumors but also reduce the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer.
- Good for a healthy heart: Walnuts help in lowering cholesterol levels. They’re rich in L-arginine (amino acid) and omega 3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) – two compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and prevent the formation of blood clots. (More: Heart benefits decoded)
- Help with weight-loss: Eating walnuts makes you feel full, which reduces appetite and helps with weight management.
- Walnuts help in building resistance for insulin, control blood glucose levels and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Eating walnuts during pregnancy helps in reducing the symptoms of nausea and in proper brain development in children.
- Walnuts work wonders for the hair; they’re rich in biotin, prevent hair fall, improve hair texture and strengthen them.
- Walnuts prevent ageing because of their antioxidant properties. (More: Eating nuts is tied to lower risk of death)