Nutcrackers have been around forever and come in many decorative shapes and sizes. People from all over the world have been collecting the famous Steinbach Nutcrackers that are made in Germany and are considered to be the finest ones ever handcrafted. You can still find these today in vintage shops, and Steinbach is still producing new ones regularly.
But outside of all the nutcracker collectors, are folks just like us that love a good vintage cast iron nutcracker. We enjoy how it allows us to consume as many fresh cracked nuts as our heart’s desire! In fact, during the holidays, it’s become a staple in many homes to have a cast iron nutcracker resting on the fireplace mantle or in the kitchen.
Below you will find our top three picks for the best cast iron nutcrackers:
1. Cast Iron Nut Cracker – Robert Welch Design
If you’re looking for the best cast iron nutcracker that works well with any type of nut, then you’ll definitely want to check out this high quality cast iron nutcracker iconically designed by Robert Welch. It comes with a stylish traditional design that is self-standing and makes an excellent addition to any home that loves an old-world feel.
It’s incredibly easy to use, and every person in your house can use it for cracking all their favorite nuts. Simply place any type of nut under the screw and then just rotate the handle to crack the shell. Its robust design doesn’t discriminate any kinds of nuts, and it’s the perfect gift to give a loved one that will last forever.
This is a lovely vintage looking cast iron nutcracker that is both sturdy and reliable. The fact that you don’t need to hold it while pressing down or apply any pressure to it makes cracking nuts with this device incredibly easy. It is made from a durable cast iron that should last you a lifetime, and it even comes with a 25-year warranty.
Dimensions: 4.92 x 3.94 x 6.5 inches
Weight: 3.08 lbs
2. Kocaali Hazelnut Cast Iron Nutcracker
This cast iron nutcracker has an extremely high-quality structure that provides additional security when using it in your hands to crack open your favorite nuts. With this cast iron nutcracker, you will easily be able to break the most rigid shells on hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and many more varieties.
It’s super easy to use; simply place your nut of choice into the cast iron nutcracker and then tighten the handle until you hear the nutshell crack. And it’s even easier to clean and care for; just rinse with some warm water and dry it thoroughly. It even comes with a sample of the new 2020 Turkish Kocaali hazelnuts for you to try!
Note: This cast iron nutcracker is available in two sizes, both small and large. The smaller size is ideal for nuts like hazelnuts, and the bigger size is perfect for larger nuts such as walnuts.
Dimensions: 16 x 8 x 5 inches or 11 x 6 x 3 inches
Weight: Varies by Size
3. Esschert Design C3031 Nutcracker
This old fashioned cast iron nutcracker will take you back a couple of centuries and add some vintage flair to your home. It’s perfect for cracking various nuts with hard shells and is designed uniquely to catch all the shells in the rim that surrounds the nutcracker itself.
It’s an elegant cast iron nutcracker that can be positioned in any space and can easily be a conversation starter. It’s also very practical and has a handle that spins up and down very freely, making it super easy to use. In fact, it would probably be ideal for anybody with reduced hand strength or grip.
This cast iron nutcracker will effectively crack any type of nuts and doesn’t send the shell bits flying all over the room. It’s substantially built from high quality cast iron and looks very attractive sitting on any type of counter or cabinet.
Dimensions: 5.51 x 5.51 x 6.69 inches
Weight: 2.68 lbs
What is the Difference Between the Handheld Cast Iron Nutcracker and the Self-Standing?
You will find the most significant difference between a handheld cast iron nutcracker and a self-standing cast iron nutcracker is the amount of arm, wrist, and hand strength needed to crack the hard shell on most nuts. The handheld option requires the person using it to have a certain amount of power in their hand to press down hard enough to crack the nutshell.
Whereas the self-standing cast iron nutcrackers typically come with a handle that allows the person using it to easily crack the nuts without needing a whole lot of power. They are easier to use and especially useful for people who are gracefully aging and love eating fresh nuts that have just been cracked and shelled.
Not to mention, the self-standing cast iron nutcrackers make a lovely addition to any home and can be showcased when not in use. Since cast iron products naturally have a vintage flair, they are perfect for displaying or using as a conversational piece that brings back all the history of cast iron kitchenware.
Do You Need to Season Your Cast Iron Nutcracker?
Just like all cast iron cookware and bakeware, you definitely want to season your cast iron nutcracker if you want to maintain its appearance and avoid any rust from forming. Unlike cast iron kitchenware, you won’t be using your nutcracker for anything other than cracking nutshells, so you should only need to season it when you initially bring it into your home.
When using your cast iron nutcracker, if you find that the seasoning has begun to wear off, just re-season it and allow the seasoning to be absorbed by the cast iron nutcracker.
How Do You Wash a Cast Iron Nutcracker?
Washing a cast iron nutcracker is relatively easy. It should be done only when you see pieces of nuts that are no longer easily removable, which won’t often be unless your cast iron nutcracker has many grooves. To wash your cast iron nutcracker, simply follow these steps:
- Rinse it under warm water until all the nut particles are visibility gone.
- If you feel there is still some nut residue, you can use a mild soap to help remove the film.
- Rinse it thoroughly if using a mild soap.
- Dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth or paper towels, be sure to get in every crevice and crease.
- After your cast iron nutcracker has completely dried, go ahead and apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to season it again to prevent any rust.
Many people find that their cast iron nutcracker only needs to be washed or rinsed before storing it. If you use it regularly, just be mindful of whether or not there is a buildup forming from the nuts, and if so, just simply give it a quick wash.
Note: It imperative that anytime you use water on your cast iron nutcracker that you make sure it is thoroughly dry before storing it. This is the only way you will be able to prevent it from rusting.
Why Are Nutcrackers Commonly Given as Gifts?
Well, according to some German folklore, nutcrackers were often given as a keepsake that was supposed to bring good luck to a family and protect their home. It has been said that cast iron nutcrackers represent both strength and power. According to that same folklore, the traditional and famous nutcrackers have watched over the family receiving them and keep all evil spirits and danger away from the home.
The nutcrackers do originate from ancestral dining customs where the most bizarre and unusual novelty nutcrackers were actually part of a unique dining experience. They were used to entertain diners during the dessert course. It was known to generate many fun conversations while these guests enjoyed their final course, which typically included hazelnuts and pecans.
Fast forward to modern times, and you will still find folks enjoying freshly cracked nuts after a meal. It’s a tradition that almost every country has adopted, and many people today use a cast iron nutcracker to relish in the vintage history while enjoying their favorite nuts!
Whether you are looking to buy a cast iron nutcracker to use regularly for cracking nuts or if you plan on putting it on display in your favorite room, you can count on this vintage piece of history lasting for many generations!