Walnut is native to parts of Asia, especially the Himalayas. It is now widespread throughout the world and appears to have been imported to Europe directly by the Greeks around the 7th-5th century. In Italy, the main walnut crops are present in Campania. The characteristic fruit is obtained from the walnut tree, a drupe. Oval shape. It also produces excellent wood, the plant is majestic, capable of reaching 30 meters in height, with a massive and massive trunk; the roots are also robust and pivoting, its leaves are deciduous, compound and alternate. It is a tree very sensitive to water stagnation which does not support heavy soils and suffers from excess heat.
Varieties of nuts
There are several varieties of nuts. The most widespread in Italy is the Sorrento, which presents itself with a majestic and elevated appearance and has a double vocation, fruity and woody. Its nuts are oval in shape and of excellent quality. The fruit ripens during the months of September to October. The Franquette variety also has a double vocation; its fruits are particularly large and oval. Its quality is excellent. They are mainly grown in northern Italy because they need a particularly cold climate. The Hartley type has medium vigor and are exclusively fruit trees. The latter are large and suboval in shape, followed by the following varieties: Malizia, Feltrina, Bleggiana, Cerreto and Midland.
Walnut is easy to grow; it prefers mountainous heights and exposure to the south or west, sheltered from the winds. Plants in the first year of life must undergo two pruning operations: one as soon as the shoots have reached 25 cm and the second in July, to favor the second vegetative restart. The second year, the two interventions will have to be repeated. Subsequently, these interventions may be more sporadic; it will be enough to remove the dead branches. A tree can produce up to 70 kg of fruit. The harvest will take place during the months of September and October using shakers or harvesters. After harvest, the fruits must undergo the following operations: shelling, washing, bleaching, drying, selection and packaging.
Walnut: Uses of Walnut
Walnuts are a food rich in mineral salts and are ideal for athletes as they are able to provide zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Indeed, they are very energetic, they provide about 600 calories per 100 grams. It also contains vitamin E. They are used as a valid ally in the treatment of diseases such as atherosclerosis and stress. Its use in addition to medicine is of course in the kitchen. The nut-based desserts and sauces are excellent and one of the most suitable combinations is undoubtedly that of gorgonzola cheese. An excellent walnut liqueur is also produced: the nocino, particularly appreciated in the southern regions. According to an ancient custom, this liqueur must be prepared with nuts harvested on June 24, Saint John’s Day.