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Pickled Green Walnuts Recipe

I used to help in our family restaurant, and I love good food. I enjoy thinking up creative ways to 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Please leave comments below!

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on January 11, 2015:

Yes, they are reputed to be very healthy

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 10, 2015:

I have to admit I have not yet tried pickled walnuts. Walnuts, though, have now become staples at our house because of its health qualities.

Kerri Bee from Upstate, NY on October 21, 2014:

Ok, this sounds fascinating. I want to try these.

Thomas F. Wuthrich from Michigan on September 20, 2014:

I've never heard of pickled walnuts and am having a hard time imagining what they must taste like. Chutney, perhaps? Sweet pickles? Do they retain any "walnut taste"...? I wonder if other nuts such as hazelnuts are similarly picklable

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on March 27, 2014:

I can't wait to try this. Looks so good.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on March 27, 2014:

@growsocialea: Good luck with new job and walnut collection

growsocialea on March 27, 2014:

I am starting a new job that has a orchard of walnut trees, really going to enjoy trying this recipe out!

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on November 08, 2013:

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know about pickled walnuts!

Susie05 on November 04, 2013:

I have never heard of pickled walnuts, this is really cool!

anonymous on November 03, 2013:

I've never heard of these. Sounds very interesting.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on November 02, 2013:

I have never tried a green walnut. They grow in a city near us and around the time they are ripe you do have to be wary where you walk as the crows toss them to the sidewalk to get them to crack lol.