Pickled Green Walnuts

crostini

From Green Walnuts:An elegantly bitter harvest

RECIPE AND PHOTO BY KRISTEN RASMUSSEN

My favorite way to enjoy these pickles is on crostini with a sharp cheese, such as cheddar. Garnish with fresh herb, such as chervil, for a bit of brightness.

Yields about 2 quarts.

30 green walnuts
¼ cup kosher salt
1 quart water
1 quart apple cider vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
5 cloves

Wash a half-gallon jar well with hot soapy water, rinse, and air dry.

Add salt and water to jar and stir to dissolve the salt. Stab each walnut with a fork a few times to help the brine penetrate the flesh, then submerge and let them ferment for 10 days at room temperature.
Remove walnuts from the brine, place them on a baking sheet or other tray, and let them sit in the sun for 24 to 48 hours, or until they turn completely black.

Wash 2 quart jars well with hot soapy water, rinse, and air dry. Divide the walnuts evenly into these jars. Bring the vinegar, sugar, molasses, and spices to a boil then pour over the walnuts. Try to leave little headspace in the jars (if you need more liquid, add a bit more vinegar). Seal jars and let rest in a cool, dark place for at least a month.

Pickles can be eaten for up to 1 year.

The tannins from the green walnuts quickly stain liquor to a dark black in the nocino-curing process.

The tannins from the green walnuts quickly stain liquor to a dark black in the nocino-curing process.