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Pickled Green Walnuts Recipe

I used to help in our family restaurant. I love good food and enjoy thinking up creative ways to cook and use leftovers to avoid food waste.

Pickled green walnuts are an unusual but very tasty snack

Pickled green walnuts are an unusual but very tasty snack

Serve With Cheeses and Meats

Early in September last year, a friend gave me about a kilo of green walnuts and suggested that I pickle them. I'd never even seen a green walnut before, let alone tasted pickled walnuts, but she told me they are delicious in combination with things like cheese or ham and other cold meats.

I enjoy trying new things, and she made the recipe sound really easy. Actually, it was one of the easiest recipes I have ever made, and so it was that I tasted pickled walnuts for the first time last October.

The idea is to use only young green walnuts, before the shell forms. This means picking them in June or July if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. Test each green walnut by sticking a pin in it. If you feel any resistance from a hard shell inside, then discard it.

What Does It Taste Like?

Pickled green walnuts have a very strong flavor, but it's delicious. If you are not keen on strong flavors, you might not like this dish, or you might just like a small amount to add to your cheese sandwich.

Fresh walnuts ready for soaking

Fresh walnuts ready for soaking

Preparation Time

Prep Time: 30 minutes, but spread over 6 weeks

Total Time: 6 weeks from start to finish

Yield: 6 jam jars or bottles


  • 1 kilo (2 lbs.) fresh walnuts
  • Brine made from 100g of salt in 1 litre of water
  • 5 cups malt vinegar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons sugar (preferably brown)
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice, including black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves

Pickled Walnuts Recipe

  1. Important note: Walnuts stain indelibly, so wear protective gloves and wipe drips from surfaces immediately.
  2. Soak the walnuts in brine (salted water) for 10 to 12 days, changing the water after the first 3 to 5 days when it looks a bit scummy. The walnuts will gradually turn black, but that's all right; they're supposed to.
  3. Wash and drain the walnuts, and lay them out to dry on a rack or baking tray for about 3 days until completely dried out and black and soft all over.
  4. Pour a little vinegar into a saucepan, add the sugar and spices and boil for a few minutes.
  5. Put the walnuts in clean jam jars and add the spiced vinegar after it has slightly cooled. Add more vinegar to completely cover the walnuts.
  6. Put the lids on the jars and label them, including the date.
  7. Store for at least 4 weeks before eating. The pickles will last about a year.

More About Walnuts

  • Walnut Recipes: BBC
    Walnuts add texture and crunch to dishes. Pair them with goats’ cheese and a drizzle of walnut oil in our salad recipes or stir them into a classic coffee cake. This popular and versatile nut consists of two wrinkly lobes enclosed within a large knob
  • 13 Proven Health Benefits of Walnuts: HealthLine
    Walnuts are exceptionally nutritious and may keep you healthy in impressive ways — from weight loss to cancer protection. Here are 13 proven health benefits of walnuts.