A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that one, one ounce serving of walnuts may provide 146 calories, which is 39 calories less, or 21 percent fewer, than the 185 calories listed in the USDA Nutrient Database. Cathy Isom answers the question of just how many calories are really in walnuts?
From the California Walnut Commission website:
Walnut History & Cultivation
Find out about their origins in ancient Persia, why they became known as ‘English Walnuts’, and how California became a center for walnut cultivation.
The Royal Nut
Walnuts have a rich history dating back thousands of years. Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia, “Jupiter’s royal acorn.” Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the “Persian Walnut.” Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East. Caravans carried walnuts to far off lands and eventually through sea trade, spreading the popularity of the walnut around the world. English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as “English Walnuts.” England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially. The outer shell provided a natural protective layer helping to maintain the quality of the nut. Today the nut trade continues to be a well-established, ordered, and structured business, and the California walnut is well known as the top quality walnut for the world.
Learn more about the history of walnuts: Historical Virtues of Walnuts
The walnut was first cultivated in California by the Franciscan Fathers in the late 1700s. The earliest walnuts to enter California were known as “mission” walnuts. Unlike today’s walnuts, these first entries were small with hard shells. The trees flourished in the Mediterranean-like climate zones of California, and by the 1870s modern walnut production had begun with orchard plantings in southern California, near Santa Barbara. In the next 70 years the center of California’s walnut production shifted with successful plantings in the central and northern parts of the state. Many of today’s improved cultivars are descendants of early plantings.
Luther Burbank is credited with early research in California walnut cultivation. Read more about him, here: Luther Burbank
California Walnut Industry
The first commercial plantings began in 1867 when Joseph Sexton, an orchardist and nurseryman in the Santa Barbara County town of Goleta, planted English walnuts. For several years, walnuts were predominantly planted in the southern areas of California, accounting for 65% of all bearing acreage. Some 70 years after Sexton’s first planting, the center of California walnut production moved northward to the Central Valley area in one of the most dramatic horticultural moves in history. Better growing areas, improved irrigation, and better pest control methods in the north resulted in greater yields, which gradually increased each year. Today, the Central Valley of California is the state’s prime walnut growing region. Its mild climate and deep fertile soils provide ideal growing conditions for the California walnut. California walnuts account for 99 percent of the commercial US supply and three-quarters of world trade.
From Wikipedia the website free dictionary:
A walnut is the nut of any tree of the genus Juglans (Family Juglandaceae), particularly the Persian or English walnut, Juglans regia. Technically a walnut is the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut, and thus not a true botanical nut. It is used for food after being processed while green for pickled walnuts or after full ripening for its nutmeat. Nutmeat of the eastern black walnut from the Juglans nigra is less commercially available, as are butternut nutmeats from Juglans cinerea. The walnut is nutrient-dense with protein and essential fatty acids.
Walnut meats are available in two forms; in their shells or shelled. The meats can be as large as halves or any smaller portions that may happen during processing, candied or as an ingredient in other foodstuffs. Pickled walnuts that are the whole fruit can be savory or sweet depending on the preserving solution. Walnut butters can be homemade or purchased in both raw and roasted forms. All walnuts can be eaten on their own (raw, toasted or pickled) or as part of a mix such as muesli, or as an ingredient of a dish.
Walnut Whip, coffee and walnut cake, and pickled walnuts are three disparate examples.
Walnut oil is available commercially and is chiefly used as a food ingredient particularly in salad dressings. It has a low smoke point, which limits its use for frying.
Walnut is the main ingredient of Fesenjan, a khoresh (stew) in Iranian cuisine.
Black walnut has been promoted as a potential cancer cure, on the basis that it kills a “parasite” responsible for the disease. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “available scientific evidence does not support claims that hulls from black walnuts remove parasites from the intestinal tract or that they are effective in treating cancer or any other disease”.
Walnuts have been listed as one of the 38 substances used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health. However, according to Cancer Research UK, “there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer”.
Inks and Dyes
The husks of the black walnut Juglans nigra are used to make an ink for writing and drawing. Walnut ink has good archival properties, and has been used by several great artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.
Walnut husks are used as a brown dye for fabric. Walnut dyes were used in classical Rome and in medieval Europe for dyeing hair.
The United States Army used ground walnut shells for the cleaning of aviation parts because it was inexpensive and non-abrasive. However, an investigation of a fatal Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter crash (September 11, 1982, in Mannheim, Germany) revealed that walnut grit clogged an oil port, leading to the accident and the discontinuation of walnut shells as a cleaning agent.