LimeRock Orchards FAQ’s

Topics : Walnut Oil | California Organic Walnuts | Growing Methods

Walnut Oil

Walnut oil can be used the same way you use your favorite unrefined cooking oils and olive oils. We use it for just about everything, from salads to entrees to baked desserts. It is also wonderful for gentle sautéing and can add a flavorful twist to toasted breads.
Like butter, roasted walnut oil is wonderful for creating rich flavor in even the most basic of dishes like fresh popcorn, cheese plates and barbequed corn on the cob. Don’t worry about having a “fancy” use for it… it’s great for just about anything you would normally use olive oil for! Half the fun of roasted walnut oil is using it in your standby dressings and dishes for a new twist that will reinvigorate old favorites.
For recipe ideas, take a look at our originals, as well as our Pintrest page where we have collected our favorite walnut recipes from around the web.

Please see our notes below on smoke point for some information about the temperature limits of walnut oil.

Roasted walnut oil is a true treasure for any chef’s pantry, regardless of cooking skill. It adds an alluring, toasted quality to any food it is paired with and has a wonderfully light texture. Our oil is a beautiful golden hue with a buttery, smooth flavor to match. Unlike other cooking oil, roasted walnut oil has a smooth, bold flavor without being too aggressively grassy or peppery.

The most complete answer can be found in the ‘About Us‘ section, but to put it briefly we are quite different. From a technical standpoint, our oil is produced using classical French methods, where our organic walnuts are lightly roasted before pressing. This produces an intense, irresistible roasted walnut oil.

In addition to our commitment to organic, dry land farming, Limerock Orchards is 100% family owned and operated. Our family has roots here in Paso Robles, California dating back more than 100 years. We have a deep appreciation for everything that makes Paso Robles what it is, from the walnuts to the cattle that roam the hills to the sprawling vineyards. Limerock Orchards roasted walnut oil is made with heart!

The landscape of Paso Robles changes as each year goes by. It breaks our hearts to watch productive, decades-old orchards be replaced with more wine grapes, simply because the walnuts are not put to their best use. We hope to see the agricultural diversity of Paso Robles remain intact by spreading the word about all the great things this area has to offer beyond wine.

The most convenient place to buy our oil, and all of our other products, is right here on our website!

Absolutely! Simply use the amount called for – no ratios required.

Yes, our walnuts are lightly roasted before pressing to get the best oil extraction possible and impart a slight toasted flavor.

Though the California walnuts used to produce our oil are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, we are unable to label our oil as such due to the lubricant used on the machines that press the oil. However, this lubricant in no way contacts our walnut oil. In the end, the integrity of these machines and the substantial investment it takes to maintain them is far more important than a label. Though we wish the rules were different, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Our walnuts are lightly roasted and then cold-pressed to perfection – no refining whatsoever. The refining process creates bland, colorless oil more suited to high temperature uses. We believe in the purity of flavor and rich golden color that comes from unrefined roasted walnut oil.

The smoke point of cooking oil refers to the point at which it is so darn hot that it literally begins to break down and smoke (read: not delicious). The smoke is very nasty stuff and should be carefully avoided. The oil at this point is nutritionally compromised and has lost its true flavor. Each cooking oil temperature threshold is different, which is why only certain oil is used for deep frying and other high heat uses.

In the case of unrefined walnut oil (see our explanation above), the smoke point is around 320°F (160°C). While many people avoid using walnut oil for any kind of heat cooking for this reason, we use it often for light sautéing and baking with great results.

Cooking oil is sensitive to light, heat and oxygen exposure, which is why we recommend storing in a cool, dry place before opening and then in the refrigerator afterward. Our tin packaging is extremely effective at protecting the oil within – an unopened can will be best when used within 18 months, though in our personal experience the oil will likely not go rancid until beyond 2 years.

After opening, we recommend using the oil within 6 months for the best flavor experience. Be sure to give it a vigorous shake to get all of those unrefined goodies mixed in!

We are so sorry that you have had an unpleasant experience! Our roasted walnut oil is anything but bitter. It is smooth, mild and has a delicate toasted flavor. We encourage anyone that has had a negative experience with walnuts to try not only the roasted walnut oil, but our dry farmed, organic walnuts. Our organic walnuts are completely unlike most and have a buttery, sweet taste with no bitter, harsh skin. We have converted lots of people in our tasting room from disliking walnuts to taking home our organic walnuts and roasted walnut oil!

California Organic Walnuts

In-shell organic walnuts should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sun exposure. Take care that in-shell walnuts do not become cracked or broken, as this will attract insect larvae. In-shell walnuts will last for several months, up to 12.

Shelled organic walnuts should be kept airtight and away from sun exposure as much as possible. Refrigeration or freezing is recommended. They will last up to 6 months in the fridge and about a year in the freezer.

Without getting too scientific, walnuts are great for your health because they contain both Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, along with antioxidants, phytosterols and vitamin E. These healthy components have all sorts of talents, from strengthening your heart to helping manage your weight to supporting cognitive function. More recent studies have even shown a potential for walnuts helping fight certain cancers.

When it comes to healthy fats, it’s hard to top the mighty walnut. For more in-depth health benefit information, check out our Health Benefits page.

Growing Methods

Dry farmed means that our walnut orchard is never irrigated. Unlike the majority of commercial nut-growing regions, we do not have the ability or need to irrigate. This saves a substantial amount of water while forcing our trees to produce better quality fruit, but less of it. It’s a tradeoff that we are more than happy to make because the end result is highly flavorful California walnuts.

Our walnut orchard hasn’t been sustainably farmed for 20 plus years because it’s hip. Our methods produce the absolute best organic walnuts our orchard can possibly grow and keep the trees nice and healthy. We believe in investing in the long-term health of our walnut orchard rather than a more intensive, profit-driven model. Especially in California, water is a truly precious resource that we work hard to conserve.

Our dry farming method, combined with our fantastic soil, packs more flavor into fewer nuts. This creates delicious, sweet California walnuts that are free from the bitter skin found on typical grocery store nuts. There’s no hype here – just undeniably delicious organic walnuts that speak for themselves.

Our California walnuts are harvested typically between late September and late October, depending on the year. Once we get the first rain of the fall, we know the walnut orchard is close to being ready. This is when the green hulls surrounding the walnut shells begin to crack, priming the nuts to fall from the trees and be collected. After vigorously shaking the trees with a hydraulic shaking tractor, the organic walnuts are collected by hand into 50 pound sacks to be shipped of for hull removal and drying.

We grow heirloom English varieties of walnuts, which include Hartley and Franquette. They are known for having light, sweet nut meats. We love the history and untainted nature of our heirloom varieties!

Should you ever wonder which you are holding, the Hartley’s have a more pointed, triangle shape to them with broad shoulders at the top. Franquette nuts are more of an oval, egg-like shape with a rounded point on each end.

The walnut orchard was planted in 1962, so it’s been around for quite awhile. It’s approximately 23 acres of trees spaced 60 feet apart from each other. This is much larger spacing than you will find in commercial operations because we have to give the trees enough room to produce organic walnuts without the help of irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides.