Nine days ago I pierced and soaked green walnuts in a brine solution, stirred them occasionally, and watched a slight fermentation process underway each day. On the fourth day I changed the brine solution because it looked foul. I am not sure if this was appropriate. Perhaps it will change the final texture and flavour in way that is not attractive. To be determined.
Stage two is simple. Line a tray with baking paper, pour away the brine solution, and roll the walnuts onto the paper. At this stage they are particularly unattractive, by my reckoning.
For the next 24 hours leave the walnuts in strong light and roll them around occasionally with the desire they form an all over, even, deep blackness. After a day they carry a pleasant sheen; the lustre of burnished black clay or glossy charcoal.
Stage three is also simple. Collect together your desired pickling ingredients. For three jars I used a mix of malt vinegar and apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, salt and ground ginger. For one jar I used apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, black peppercorns, freshly ground nutmeg, and ground ginger. I had two walnuts left over that wouldn’t fit in those four jars; my pickling mixture for these was a lazy apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. Once you have decided on your ingredients pour them all into a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.
In advance prepare/sterilise jars and their lids so they are clean. Dry them. Plop and push as many walnuts as you can into your jars to the brim – green walnuts are large and bulky so small jars won’t work well.
Pour the boiling pickling liquid into each jar to the top.
Screw the lids tightly.
I had two walnuts left so, as an experiment, I sliced then pickled them with the lazy pickling mix.
Don’t forget to label each with a list of ingredients and add the date of bottling. I have stored the first four jars in a dark cupboard and placed the sliced walnuts in their solution, in the fridge.
Most recipes suggest you can eat them one month after bottling. I have jars which are one year old and the contents are terrifically tasty – and safe!
Best wishes with pickling your own green walnuts. Please tell me your stories.