Eating hand-shelled walnuts within a few months of their harvest is an entirely different experience than eating your average store-bought ones. The sweetness is notable. I’ve heard that the machine-shelling bruises the nutmeat and makes it turn rancid more quickly which may account for the different in flavor. Age has something to do with it too, I’m sure.
They are addictive as a snack just plain and toasting them and adding them to salads elevates the simplest greens to a dish fit for kings and queens. Toasted and then ground into nut meal or chopped they enrich baked goods, from muffins to coffeecakes to tarts and pies. You can make a most wonderful pesto with them with either basil or parsley or blanched leafy winter greens.
Store walnuts in a cool place or in the refrigerator, well-sealed. Walnuts are particularly nutrient dense and contain a lot of dietary fiber, protein and healthy fats.