Crouched behind a tree as walnuts whizzed through the air, their fleshy green husks exploding on impact, my 11-year-old self quickly gathered up a dozen or so. With the sound of friends’ laughter drawing closer, I knew it was now or never. I stepped out from behind the tree, walnuts at the ready, and hurled the artillery in quick succession. I fired off three quick blasts, each of them landing true, then followed up with an immediate second round, and a third, until I had but one walnut left and raised at the ready.

The “enemy” surrendered, and I won the day. We all walked home from the park that evening, laughing and slugging shoulders. Though we were bruised and beaten, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

These days, for safety’s sake, I discourage using black walnuts as projectiles. However, I certainly recommend gathering them for food. Considered a “superfood,” black walnuts are high in omega-3s and antioxidants. Plus, they pair exceedingly well with dark chocolate (or any chocolate, really).

Black walnut trees

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