Chinquapin Slicing Jig

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Its that time of year around here. Maybe further south the season is gone. So my wife gets a batch of chinquapins from a friend because she likes them much better than chestnuts. What a pain to shell! When I was in grade school, that was the snack almost every kid had in their pocket. I decided to try to make something that could maybe make things easier. I first made one block with a single beveled hole. 5/8 diameter with a 60º countersink. This worked well, so I made a thee holer. It works but the back of the knife needs a stronger wack. This was sort of a "proof of concept" try, but I think it will work. I'll take a half chinquapin and drop it in the hole, stab the middle with a thin screwdriver or pocket knife and pry out the center. No more mashing with the teeth.

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tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Sweet. Now, if I could figure out how to deal with all our walnuts. Never got then dried correctly.
 

Robert LaPlaca

Robert
Senior User
Bob, I have a question. Never heard of chinquapins, from wikipedia it sounds like the nut is a relative of the American chestnut, do you roast the nut to eat the meat or does one just eat the meat of the nut raw?
 

Cuthriell

Cuthriell
User
Scott, we put our walnuts in the drive and clean the husks off going to/from the house in the cars. It might take a few weeks. Then wash them off lightly, let dry, then place in the oven at 150 degrees for an hour. There will be a bit of odor but it does not ruin the oven. The roasting shrinks the meat and makes it easier to pick out of the shells. We use a piece of 2X board with holes drilled a bit larger than the walnut to crack them. Set the board on concrete, set the nuts in a hole, and hit the nuts with a maul. It will not smash them too much. Some will be small for the 2X thickness and you just have to go after them freestyle.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Bob, I have a question. Never heard of chinquapins, from wikipedia it sounds like the nut is a relative of the American chestnut, do you roast the nut to eat the meat or does one just eat the meat of the nut raw?
I get our chinquapins from the North Carolina/Virginia boarder area where my wife used to live. They grow wild along fence rows and beside the roads since usable land is usually cleared for agricultural uses.
They are miniature chestnuts native to this country. They are about 1/2" to 5/8" in diameter and far more tasty than regular chestnuts. I consider them a delicacy these days like wild strawberries.
The usual process was to bite through the hull and pick out the meat. I've never heard of anyone roasting them but I guess it's possible.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Sweet. Now, if I could figure out how to deal with all our walnuts. Never got then dried correctly.
The walnuts I get, like Cuthriell, were driven over on a driveway. A friend has a grave drive and drives over them then in October, he'll bring me several 5 gal buckets full. I've never put them in an oven as I'd never heard of that. We would spread them out and let the nuts dry for a week or two then bring them indoors for another few weeks of drying. By late November they are ready for cracking. Too early and the meat is soft and green tasting.
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Walnuts in their drying stages.

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I use a walnut cracker to pop the hulls open. I can burst about 50 nuts in 7 minutes. The ram only moves 1/4" and that's perfect for bursting without smashing the meat. This particular cracker is no longer made as far as I know. At first I used a vise but that was slow even though the bursting point could be controlled unlike a hammer.

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Good nut meat with large kernels.
The only problem with efficient production is when we give away batches at Christmas time. People sometimes get carried away and eat the whole pound of nut meat while driving or watching TV. The results is a headache from the overdose of the vitamins that are in the meat. Maybe a handful or less of the meat at a time is more prudent.

My wife once offered a friend some walnut cookies. The friend was from New York State somewhere and had never tasted black walnut meat. The response was instantly and observably negative. That's often a response from someone that is unfamiliar with the strong flavor. English walnuts, they're not.
 

Oka

Board of Directors, Vice President
Casey
Staff member
Corporate Member
My mom used to soak in salted lime juice then roast.
 

Robert LaPlaca

Robert
Senior User
My mom used to soak in salted lime juice then roast.
I am only familiar with European chestnuts, usually they appear about time for thanksgiving and Christmas, the European chestnuts need to be roasted in order to get the meat out of the shell.
 

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