Tuesday, July 08, 2014

It's pickling time again... this week walnuts

A really good way of extending your harvests is pickling. Pickling certain fruits, nuts or vegetables means that not only can you enjoy your crop fresh, but also some months later, pickled. Walnuts are a real treat pickled or fresh and something we enjoy throughout the year if we can gather enough. This year we gathered about 4kg.

Normally, gathering enough walnuts for pickling or to eat fresh isn't a problem here as the tree grows well in Asturias, wild and abundant. Last year was a poor year and we only managed a very small harvest but 2014 looks like it's going to be a bumper year.

The key to pickling walnuts is to gather them when they are firm, plump and fresh but before the inner shell has started to form and harden. It's usually around the end of June for us when the walnuts are in their prime for pickling.

This is the recipe and method we use and adapt from year to year depending on the spices and vinegar we can source here in Asturias or that we bring over from the UK. This year's recipe is as follows:

Make brine by dissolving 225g salt in enough water to cover the walnuts. Wash the walnuts, clean and prick with a fork. Cover the walnuts in a brine solution for 2 weeks. Change the brine after one week. We wear gloves because green walnuts can seriously stain your skin.

After the two weeks, carefully drain and leave to dry. The walnuts will turn black if not already black. This is perfectly normal. Prepare the pickling solution.

Pickling Solution:

1 litre of malt vinegar
500g dark brown sugar
1 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tablespoon grated ginger

Bring the vinegar and spices to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the walnuts and take of the heat. Leave 15 minutes then decant the walnuts into clean sterilised jars and top up with the pickling vinegar. Seal and label. They will keep for about a year or until consumed. Great in salads, with cheese or savoury dishes.

We are also looking forward to wild harvests of hazelnuts, avocados, blackberries, figs and sloes....


  1. Oh the life you two have

    1. I know, hard and impoverished....;-)

  2. Ah, pickled walnuts, memories from years back, unfortunately we have never seen them on sale here in Ireland, I wonder if you can still get them in the UK? Do you know? Probably my most favourite pickled things.

    1. I remember them from the speciality shops in the UK Anne ( the garden centre expensive gourmet food sections) but can't recall seeing them in the general shops. For me, the spice mixture has to be right otherwise I find them too strong.


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