Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Pickled Green Walnuts
2 - 3 lb young green walnuts
1/4 lb salt
3 1/2 pints water
1 oz black peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice berries
2 1/2 pints malt or wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 inch stick of cinnamon, crushed
Prick the walnuts all over with a large needle (these nuts are best picked before June 24th--you don't want any developed hard shell within the nut itself). Place the nuts in a ceramic bowl, dissolve half the salt in half the water and pour over the walnuts. Cover and leave for 5 days in a cool place, stirring twice a day to ensure even brining.
Drain the walnuts, mix the remaining salt and water, pour over the brine and leave for another five days, stirring twice a day as before. Drain, spread out in a single layer on a flat dish and leave to dry in the sun until they are black but not dry, turning every few hours.
Crush the peppercorns and allspice berries and simmer the vinegar with the sugar and spices for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and strain. Pack the walnuts into sterilized, wide-mouth jars, filling them no more than three-quarters full, and pour in the spiced vinegar. Cover and leave in a cool place for 6 weeks before using.
These pickles are delicious smashed into a viniagrette or mayonnaise for a salad or sandwich dressing. Try a slice of pickle and a slice of cheese for a canapé.