For a number of years now I have been intending to do this but have never managed to get around to Pickling Walnuts
. One of the main reasons is that the window of opportunity is quite small. The green or unripe walnuts have to be just the right size, but in only a couple of weeks the hard shell will begin to form inside the green outer layer and you cannot pickle them.
So early this morning I managed to find a walnut tree that was low enough to reach. I picked a couple of pounds, about half a carrier bag full. One unexpected thing was the perfume coming from the tree and the walnuts as I picked them. Hard to explain, but it was a wonderful, floral fragrance almost a cross between Jasmine and spinach!... Really lovely actually!
This is what the inside of a green walnut looks like. It is recommended that you push a needle into the walnut just to check that the hard nut shell has not formed. You will not be able to use them if it has formed - obviously! I washed them thoroughly and gently topped and tailed them - cutting off any stems, stalks so they are tidy and smooth.
You MUST wear gloves
when cutting and handling green walnuts. There is a juice which comes out of them which is bright yellow in colour, but this is used as a dye!!! Your hands will turn dark brown or black if you get this juice on them. I used a small desert fork to prick a series of holes into each walnut, the liquid sometimes squirts out! You can feel that each one does not have a shell forming, and it enables the brine solution
to penetrate each walnut fully.
I made about 4 pints of brine using 200g salt. The pricked green walnuts will be left in this first brine solution for ONE WEEK! Then they will be drained, and placed in another clean brine for ANOTHER WEEK!.. so I will update you when I am ready to proceed with the next stage.