Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Real Thanksgiving thanks to Lincoln not Pilgrims

The Pilgrims and the Indians sitting down for dinner together, is not the real reason for Thanksgiving, as most people might think. Yes, there was a three-day feast but that occured after the first successful harvest of 1621, which was one year after arriving and the pilgrims almost dying. At that meal the pilgrims only invited Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe and it was Massasoit who then invited ninety or more of his "Indian" brothers and sisters to the affair, LOL...

In fact - "The Pilgrims were Puritans, which is a very strict religion," Professor of Early American History Edward Gray said. "The way they gave thanks was through fasting. They would not have feasted to give thanks." Had the Pilgrims been giving thanks, the leader of the church would have announced a time of atonement throughout the town. This would have resulted in solemn prayer and fasting for a specified number of days.

Now we come to the Civil War and 1863 where Lincoln stated in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of Oct. 3, 1863,

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Lincoln also advised Americans to help each other and pray for one another on this day.

So with them facts it's plain to see that in reality we started to celebrate Thanksgiving because of Abraham Lincoln, but alas most people have forgotten this -

Now we come to 2011 and thanks to years of corporate media brainwashing Thanksgiving has been corrupted by corporations of greed and a thing called "Black Friday" when people become a veritable pack of wolves.

What is suppose to be our 'national' one day of gratitude (which, if you remember, is the whole purpose of Thanksgiving) has now become just another day in the corporatizational lives of American citizens to consume and consume and consume at the expense of our finances, our ethics, our morality and even our gratitude...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nickels from the Sky (Black Walnut Harvesting)

Black walnuts are used in a variety of baked goods from cookies, bread, cakes, etc. and the nutmeats are often expensive (like $3.29 for 6oz bag in grocery store) so finding some or a tree or several trees can be a real find for some.

For those who don't know what black walnuts look like - they're about 2 to 3 inches round and green, and actually look kind of like a tennis ball. If you don't have a tree near you then most of the time you will see black walnuts laying in streets, or on trails, etc. while you're out walking or riding.

To harvest you can either climb the tree, knock them from the branches with a pole/stick or wait until they fall to the ground (much easier) but make sure you only gather the ones that are solid green to a light yellowish green. If they're black forget about them, they're rotten already... MAKE SURE YOU WEAR GOOD PAIR OF GLOVES BECAUSE THEY CAN STAIN YOUR HANDS! Press on the skin of the walnut with your thumb; ripe nuts will show an indentation, most of the walnuts I have gathered that were on the ground are ripe already and ready to be de-hulled.

So now that you have your ripe walnuts you have to prepare them for proper curing and storage, which will require the removing of the green colored hulls. I have always just threw them down on a tarp and placed another tarp over them and just ran over them with my truck until all broken open. Of course they are other ways such as grinders, hammers, stirring them up in a mixture of water and gravel or some have even used them ol' fashined corn shellers.

Once hulled, the unshelled nuts need to be washed and while at the same time checked for goodness/insects. Place the unshelled nuts in a tub/bucket of water, the good nuts will sink to the bottom. The floating nuts you can discard. Wash the good nuts to remove the hull waste from them, might have to use a stiff brush on some. After washing spread the cleaned nuts out to dry so that they are not touching. If you are doing this outdoors, you need to be sure they are in a sunny spot, protected from them darn squirrels and chipmunks...


Now once all of that is done it's time for curing which takes about 4 to 6 weeks. I have always use onion bags but any simular type bag will do also as long as it permits air movement around the nuts. Fill the bag about half way and hang from a bar of sorts so as not to let the darn S & Cs get them...

After curing, store unshelled nuts in a well-ventilated area at 60°F or less. Cloth bags or wire baskets allow adequate air circulation and discourage development of mold, or you can begin to crack them open to eat or sell.

Before cracking, inspect the shells to make sure that there are no fissures or cracks in the shell. Walnuts with cracked shells are often infected with microorganisms and should be discarded. Bright yellow, blue streaked, or black kernels should not be consumed.To be certain nuts have cured adequately, break open a sample nut. When the nut is dry enough to store, its kernel will break crisply, with a sharp snap. If cured improperly, nuts will mold.

To crack them open some have soak the nuts in water for a day to soften them, I have always just cracked them with a hammer or get yourself one of them fancy nut cracker things >> Hardshell Nutcracker

After cracking the nutmeat can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator ( nutmeats will last about 9 months) or they can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 years. Or if selling them I usually fill a plastic sandwich bag up about half way ( equals right around a cup) and label them and sell them at flea markets, in front of your house, craigslist, etc. for about $2 to 3 dollars each baggy...

If you don't want to go to all that trouble you can still make a few bucks if you live close by a Hammons hulling outlet, last time I check a few years ago the price their were buying the green balls for was $13.00 for a 100 pounds.

Follow these links:

Click on Growing, Harvesting, & Hulling

Click on Hulling Locations

Enter your zip code and select the miles acceptable from the drop down list.

So there you have it good people, with a little work and time you can have freash black walnuts and maybe some pocket change to boot...

For Black Walnuts Recipes click here - Get Recipes

For thiose who want to grow their own Black walnut trees click here - Get Tree