May 17th, 2023
National Walnut Day
The Walnut Marketing Board created the first National Walnut Day in June of 1949 to celebrate and promote the consumption of walnuts. Then, on March 3, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared that May 17, 1958, would be National Walnut Day. You may or may not be aware, but walnuts provide many health benefits and can be used in so many ways. Sometimes we may eat walnuts as a snack and other times we may use them in desserts and salads.
Botanically, walnuts are a particular kind of dry fruit that has a single seed, a hard shell, and a protective husk. In celebration of National Walnut Day, I thought it would be fun to learn more about walnuts. So, here are some interesting and fun facts involving walnuts:
- Walnuts are one of the oldest known tree foods (they date back to 7,000 B.C.);
- Ninety-nine percent of the commercial U.S. supply and two-thirds of the world trade of walnuts now come from California;
- In India, Prabhakar Reddy P crushed 303 walnuts by hand in a single minute to break the world record in June, 2022;
- In Italy, Muhammad Rashid cracked 254 walnuts with his head in a minute to break the world record in November, 2018.
- It takes about 170 days for a walnut to develop and mature on a tree;
- Walnuts are harvested between September and November;
- Walnuts are a great pregnancy food (containing Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as, protein, vitamins and antioxidants);
- Walnuts can help you fall asleep (contain melatonin);
- Walnuts provide heart benefits (help reduce bad cholesterol levels and decrease risk of heart disease);
- The Eastern Black Walnut became Missouri’s official state tree nut in 1990;
- President George Washington ruined his teeth using them to crack walnut shells;
- Walnuts came from Persia and Asia and were brought to California in the late 1700s;
- There are more than 200 different kinds of walnuts;
- Walnut trees grow at a rate of 24 inches per year reaching 40 to 60 feet tall and can produce walnuts for more than 100 years; and
- Walnuts have a shell that resembles a human head, so ancient Greeks referred to them as karyon (meaning head).
Happy National Walnut Day!