Nuts of any tree of the Juglans genus are called walnuts. A walnut cannot be described as a true botanical nut since it is actually the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut.
There are two major species of walnuts, the English walnut, and the black walnut. The former is also known as the Persian walnut since it originated in Persia. The latter traces its origin to North America. The English hybrid is grown on a commercial scale and numerous cultivars have been developed over time.
Walnuts usually grow well in cool climatic conditions. The yield of the crop is adversely affected by high temperatures. An evenly distributed annual rainfall of about 800 mm generates an optimum yield of the crop. Walnuts grow best in well-drained deep silt loamy or clay loamy soils.
Top Walnut Producing Countries
China is the world’s biggest producer of walnuts. In the year 2016/17, the country produced 1,060,000 metric tons of walnut. China accounted for about 50% of the total walnut production in the world. The country is also the world’s biggest consumer of walnuts. The per capita consumption of walnuts in China has steeply grown from only 0.17 kg in 1995 to 1.8 kg in 2016. China’s 24% growth in per capita walnut consumption rate is well ahead of the global average of 5.8%.
The United States (US)
The US ranks second in walnut production in the world. The country accounts for nearly one-third of the global production of walnuts. California in the US is the country’s top walnut producing state. In fact, the state accounts for nearly all the walnut production of the US. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley regions in California are famous for walnut production. Nearly 4,900 farmers in California grow walnuts. In 2016/17, the US produced 607,810 metric tons of walnut.
Other Major Walnut Producing Nations
China and the US account for nearly three-quarters of the global walnut production. The European Union, Ukraine, Chile, Turkey, and Moldova are the other top regions/countries for walnut production.
Uses Of Walnut
The primary use of walnut is as food. Walnuts can be eaten on their own or added to a dish or food item like muesli, walnut pie, walnut soup, walnut cake, etc. Walnuts are also used in the preparation of folk medicines although little evidence pointing towards the efficacy of such treatments. Walnuts are also used to produce ink and dyes and for some other applications.