Black walnuts are prized for their flavor and are very nutritious. The tree is common throughout the eastern United States, and the green nut pods are commonly found littering the ground in fall. A favorite food of squirrels, the nut has been prized for generations for its taste and ease of harvest, but cracking and shelling the hull to get at the meat requires a bit of skill and do-it-yourself know-how.
Place a completely hulled nut on a hard surface such as a concrete driveway or patio blocks.
Step on the hull with solid-soled shoes, twisting the hull underfoot until it peels off from the actual shell. An alternative is to use a paring knife to slice through the hull, then peel it apart with your fingers.
Place the hull-free nuts on newspapers and allow to cure in the shell for a couple of weeks.
Place a cured shell into a heavy-duty nutcracker and gently crack the shell. The pressure and precision of a shop vice also works well for this task.
Cut off stubborn shell protrusions with a heavy-duty wire cutter.
Pick out the nut meats with a nut pick.