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Walnut History

Walnuts were once considered nuts of the gods

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Walnuts

© 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Walnut History

Walnuts are the fruit of the Juglans regia, (also J. nigra for the black walnut). It is a Latin contraction of Jovis glans meaning regal nut of Jupiter or nut of "the Gods." Ancients believed the gods dined on walnuts, hence regia or regal.

Origin of the term walnut has debatable origins. Some scholars say the term derives from the Teutonic German wallnuss or welsche nuss and others debate it is from the Anglo-Saxon word wealh meaning foreign or alien and hnutu meaning nut.

It is difficult to trace the native home of the walnut tree, but ancient Romans believe it originated in Persia. Early cultivation spanned from southeastern Europe to Asia Minor to the Himalayas. Greek usage of walnut oil dates back to the fourth century B.C., nearly a century before the Romans.

Franciscan priests brought the walnut to California, USA around 1770. The oil of the nut has been used for centuries in the preparation of fine paints for artists.

More about Walnuts and Walnut Recipes:

Walnut Selection and Storage
Walnut Varieties
Walnuts and Health
Walnut History
Walnut Lore and Legend
Walnut Recipes
Walnuts Photo © 2009 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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