When a black walnut is ripe your must remove the nut shell from it's husk. The husk is often soft and a green or brown color. If it's not removed then the walnut meat can begin to mold. Before you can eat or use the black walnut meat you must be able to also properly crack the shells, which can be challenging. If you don't want to crack all of the shells you have you can store the nuts up to a year.
Wash the nuts in a small bucket full of cool water to remove any debris and juice after you've removed the husk. Dry the nuts on paper towels in a ventilated area where there is no direct sunlight for up to two weeks and then store the nuts in mesh bag in a cool and dry area.
Soak the nut in cool water for up to two hours before you plan to crack the shell. Dry the nut and then leave it in an airtight container overnight.
Use a hammer to crack the nutshell to remove the meat. Use a vise if you have trouble keeping the nut in place.
Let fresh nut meat dry for up to two days before consuming or refrigerating. You can eat the nut meat raw immediately after it is dry or store the meat in an airtight container to use for recipes.
Cut the meat in half or place it in a food processor to puree or chop it for use as an additive in baking recipes. Black walnut meat can be used in cakes, stuffing for poultry, muffins and other items, although they work best in sweet recipes. Try mixing them into vanilla-, chocolate-, apple-, and pumpkin-based desserts.