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Waste Not, Want Not {and a Kitchen Fail}

The prevailing theme of my childhood could probably be summed up in four words: “Waste Not, Want Not.” My father was raised on a small family farm that produced most of their own food. I’m quite certain they didn’t throw out much, because we certainly weren’t allowed to when I was growing up. We ATE leftovers at my house, whether we liked it or not. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Eat it until it’s gone. (That might be a slight exaggeration…but not by much.)

Today in the spirit of the eat from the Pantry Challenge, I decided to use up the cranberries that have been lingering in my fridge. Cranberry Orange Bread sounded like a good use, so I gave it a whirl. Since I hate to waste my time in the kitchen, I decided to make two loaves instead of just one.

My kids and I cleaned and sorted through the cranberries, mixed up the ingredients, and put two gorgeous loaves of bread in the oven. It smelled delicious as it was baking and I was so excited to try the bread. {What I nice afternoon snack, I thought smugly as it baked. I’m such a good mom.}

Imagine my surprise when the bread turned out to be nasty? The kids cried EWW GROSS YUCK and refused to eat it. I gave it a try and as much as I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t. It was every bit as gross as the kids said.

My mistake was to use black walnuts we harvested from our small acreage earlier in the fall. Those things are nasty. They have a pungent smell – I should have known better. The worst part – I like the bread except for those nuts! The tartness of the cranberries mixed with the sweetness of the raw sugar makes a very nice combination that’s right up my alley.

So now I’m in a quandary. Waste not, want not, you know? But I’ll be *%*&# if I’m the only one eating those two loaves of bread all by myself!


  1. Well if you end up pitching it, put it out for the birds and squirrels instead of the compost heap, then the kids can watch the critters!
    • There's so many walnuts that it's very hard to pick them out. English walnuts would have been fine. I'm not so sure I will try the black walnuts again. Maybe a few would go a long way?
  2. are all black walnuts like that? or have you had tasty black walnuts before? I wonder if there are growing conditions around the tree affecting the flavor. I can't remember if I've ever tasted black walnuts before.
  3. Black walnuts definitely have a much stronger flavor than English walnuts, a little goes a long way. I would probably try cubing the bread and hide it mixed in with whole wheat cubes in bread pudding.
  4. Black walnuts do have a very strong flavor, and it isn't one that I am especially fond of. Combine that with being a total pain to shell. The only thing I can think of to try would be crumble up the bread, get as many of them out of it as you can, and use it for baked fruit topping - like a crisp sort of. If you could reduce down the number it might make it more palatable.
  5. I grew up with a black walnut tree in the backyard and our town even had a Black Walnut Festival, so I feel that I have experience with them. Black walnuts have a very strong taste and either you like them or you don't. I would consider this a lesson learned about black walnuts and let the critters and birds outdoors enjoy the bread. They will be very happy.
  6. I gave up on my walnuts from our trees very early on. While it seemed like a great thing to have on a homestead when we bought the property, the reality is that it is soooo much work to get to the point of actually using them for food. I collected them all and tried to get my kiddos to help peeling the outside layers off. They were disgusted by maggots crawling in the pulp and frankly, so was I! We didn't even get to the hard shells.....sorry you had a bad experience with using them!
  7. Oh no! I suppose you could have your kids help you pick out the walnuts, then serve the bread as a sort of crumble over ice cream or something? Or you could even dry the stuff and use it as a sort of cereal? LOL this really has my creative juices flowing. Hope you can come up with something

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