A Long Long Time Ago...

Walnuts have a long and rich History. Dating back to 7000 B.C, walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man. They have been found in prehistoric digs across Europe. Many people think that the nut originated in ancient Persia, where it was reserved for royalty only.  In the 4th century AD, the Romans introduced the walnut into many European countries where it has been grown since. The Romans use to call them Juglans Regia, meaning “Jupiter’s royal acorn”. Over time walnuts were traded along the Silk Road between Asia and the Middle East. Eventually they were traded overseas. The popularity of walnuts quickly grew over the years and so did the accessibility. Walnuts have a hard exterior shell which provides a natural protective layer to maintain the integrity of the nut.

Currently most of the walnut production in the US happens in California. After a walnut tree is planted it takes five to seven years for it to grow into a full adult tree suitable for harvest. This process takes lots of patience and dedication by the farmers. Harvest time is in late August and goes through late November. Farmers sweep the harvest floor for nuts that have fallen from the trees and then they send mechanical shakers to shake the rest of the trees to get the walnuts to fall. Walnuts are a very durable nut because of their outer shell and hull. After collection the nuts are sent to be hulled and dehydrated, this process helps protect the quality of the nut during storage.

Because the nut does resemble a human brain in appearance, it was prescribed as medicine to heal head wounds and maintain mental health in medieval Europe.  In the Middle Ages, it was believed that evil spirits lurked in walnut branches, and the walnuts were thought to be useful in warding off lightning, fevers, witchcraft, and epileptic fits. Despite the folklore, walnuts are quite good for you and do have real health benefits. They are rich with omega-3 fatty acids, which offer several benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function, to anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.  These nuts are also extremely helpful for the digestive system. Walnut oil can help soothe the intestines and stop diarrhea. When it comes to eating healthy Walnuts are a great food to add to your diet!

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