Earlier this spring we received an email from a concerned ice cream consumer and businessman with some personal stake in the Black Walnut, an inspiration that we hadn't encountered yet in our ice cream adventures. We'd kept in mind his recommendation of trying to track down a flavor featuring this particular nut for months and months with no luck. Ironically enough, this past week we received a follow-up email to the one we read months back on the same day that we were able to find Blue Bell's Black Walnut ice cream. As a precursor to our review and to provide some good background knowledge on the subject, here's a tidbit from that second email:
"I hope your fall season is going well so far. I had contacted you back in the spring about doing a review on Black Walnut ice cream. I wanted to let you know that October would be the perfect month to do a review on the flavor. Besides ice cream, Black Walnuts have primarily been used during the baking and holiday seasons. They are used in all kinds of baking recipes including fudge, brownies, cookies, breads, and many more. Black Walnuts have a very unique flavor, very different than the more well-known English Walnut. Our annual harvest runs through the entire month of October where individuals hand harvest the Black Walnuts in about a 15 state area and bring them to our hulling stations all throughout the Midwestern US. We hear stories all the time of people getting that nostalgic feeling every time they take a bite of Black Walnut ice cream. It brings them back to their childhood of picking them up in the yard or when Grandma would bake Black Walnut cookies. So as you can see, the fall season is the time when people are talking about Black Walnuts the most often. You can find Black Walnuts under many brands including Blue Bell, Kroger, Mayfield, Safeway Select, Prarie Farms, Hiland Dairy, etc. I’m not sure where you are located but you should be able to find the flavor in every state."
Excited that we had found one of the best selling Black Walnut ice creams available, we dug right in. Blue Bell describes their version by simply stating combines the special taste of black walnuts with a creamy, rich ice cream. Despite the fact that we're partial to ice cream with copious amounts of mix-ins, this unique creation didn't take long to win us over. Each bite of the base ice cream brought about a one of a kind taste that we hadn't experienced before. Blue Bell included enough chopped Black Walnuts that nearly every spoonful included a couple. When combined with the sweet, bold taste of the actual ice cream, we're disappointed we hadn't come across this one sooner. We'd love to see Black Walnuts used in conjunction with some of Blue Bell's other incredible mix-ins.
Where I Found It: Ingles Markets