question about 'walnut' tree. edible?

i'm not sure if it's a walnut tree or not, but in the forest preserves there are these fruits that fall off trees that look and kinda smell like lime.
if you crack it open, it's all dark and musty inside. if you wash away the dark stuff, there's a seed or nut. if you crack it open, it looks kinda like walnut flesh.
is this a walnut or related to walnuts? can it be eaten?
if it is edible, must it be cooked?
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Sounds like walnut or maybe butternut. They're ripe when you press on the hull and your finger leaves an impression. They have to be hulled and then cured for 2 or 3 weeks. Messy job hulling walnuts and the juice will leave a dark stain on your hands that lasts for days. After you get the hull off hose down the shelled nuts to get them clean. Test them in a bucket of water, if the sink keep them. If they float get rid of them. Stack them 2 deep on some kind of tray in the sun for 2 or 3 weeks to cure them.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you're in the US, it's probably a black walnut, though possibly butternut, which is a closely related species. Butternuts are slightly more elongated, while black walnuts are , which is a native tree. Black walnuts are edible and do not need to be cooked, although they're (a) harder to shell and yield less than English walnuts; (b) have a more bitter taste; and (c) can stain your hands.
The outer hull, which is green when the nut first drops and will darken and shrivel over time, needs to be removed first. My grandpa used to spread them out on his gravel drive and run over them several times with a '67 buick electra. The fact that this procedure mungled up the hulls enough to remove them easily but left the inner shells intact will give you some clue about the hardness of these critters! Once the hulls are off, rinse them with a garden hose and then spread them out in a cool, dry, dark place to finish drying and curing for two weeks. After that, you can bag them up and they'll keep for quite a while.
Pound on them on the pointy end with a hammer to break the shells. Soaking them in water overnight first will help moisten the nutmeat and help it hang together through the trauma of shelling.
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wrote:

butternut hulls are sticky, smaller & more oval than black walnuts. both are native trees, although the butternut is severely endangered by blight. i've lost all my butternut trees. the black walnuts are apparently immune to the blight. since the OP says the nuts are about the size & shape of a lime, i'd bet they're black walnuts. lee
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