Saturday, 30 May 2020

The unsung pickle.


                                 

Back in the UK, in my native Surrey, we had a small Walnut tree that regularly had a good crop. As Walnuts had difficulty ripening in Surrey, and to prevent them being eaten by Squirrels, the crop was invariably picked early, and pickled.

It is said by epicureans the world over, that the finest accompaniment to a really good mature Cheddar Cheese is a pickled Walnut; and I must agree.

The making of these pickles is a very simple, but lengthy, affair; you will probably not be sampling them for up to two years; by which time they will be superb. The ones below are from 2018.

                                       

It's not complicated. They must be gathered before any wood begins to form inside. Now is ideal, as long as they are of a decent size. Traditionally in the South of England we would pick them during Goodwood Week; but I expect that's been cancelled this year.

Firstly they are trimmed of their stems, etc (topped and tailed), and any blemishes removed, each nut must then be pierced a couple of times with a stainless blade; at the same time ensuring that no wood has started to form.

They are then bathed in brine for two weeks (changing the salt/water every so often), drained, then put out in the sun for a couple of days until they turn jet black. Then they are packed into sterilised jars, and covered with either malt or red wine vinegar, a reasonable amount of sugar, and a few peppercorns. The Walnuts should be totally covered, and left for up to two years before eating (one year is OK).

None of the details is exact... just use your instinct (or consult a pukka recipe, such as the one below).


30 comments:

  1. How many times do I find myself in a pickle. And I am not even a gherkin never mind the noble walnut.

    Rollmops greetings,
    U

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    Replies
    1. I love rollmops(I add brown sugar to the jar). When my wife was at school, one day they were served rollmops for lunch. Not a single girl ate them, and the headmistress went mad. I always think that's so funny. What rebels!

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  2. I wish I could eat one of your pickled walnuts. I didn't ever pickle ours and then the tree got some sort of worm and died. If I ever find a walnut tree at the right time I'll try your recipe. The only thing I have made with immature walnuts was a liqueur. Not worth it

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    Replies
    1. They make a drink here from the leaves, which has never really floated my boat!

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  3. I've never eaten anything like that. I'm trying to guess the taste.

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    Replies
    1. It's a rather strange taste; very difficult to describe. I make mine slightly sweet, so they have a darkish earthy flavour, with a sweet aftertaste. They are NOT liked by everyone!

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  4. Replies
    1. I like everything to do with walnuts; my favourite being the oil.

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  5. Lovely .... I love wet walnuts as well however, I’m not a fan of pickled eggs 🥚 XXXX

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    Replies
    1. I keep thinking that I should pickle a couple of dozen eggs, but I know that if I did they'd get eaten very quickly!

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  6. I have never eaten a pickled walnut in my life. Now I want one.

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    Replies
    1. The best commercial make is Opies (I think). They're quite expensive, but good as an introduction; then next year you can make your own.

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  7. I adore them Cro - and as everyone else who ever eats in my house absolutely hates them I have the whole jar to myself with a good cheese - can't beat it.

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    Replies
    1. They should be reserved for those of us with fine taste. They're wasted on the others!

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  8. Never tried them. Will put them on the list and see whether He Who Shops can find them!

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    Replies
    1. The best commercial ones are made by a Co called Opies. I think they are sold quite widely.

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  9. I must try and pickle some this year.
    An aside, wal-nut means foreign nut..same Saxon root as the word Welsh..those foreigners!!

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    Replies
    1. My Saxon is pretty rough, and I had no idea that the prefix Wal or Wel had anything to do with foreigners. Thanks.

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  10. I've seen the jars in the fancier grocery stores but I've never actually tried them. I will pick up a jar the next time I spot one and try it with my favourite cheddar cheese.

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    Replies
    1. I do hope your money won't be wasted, and you like them. They have quite a special taste.

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  11. I love pickles, Daughter and I make quick Japanese pickles Never had the pickled walnuts. I will have Son or Daughter who shops for me check for some at the Posh market.
    parsnip

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    Replies
    1. I adore Japanese pickled plums (can't remember their name). I've only had them once and they were a revelation.

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  12. I get my pickled walnuts in Waitrose because I assumed that they wouldn't be available anywhere else but they are. Stilton (or any strong cheese will do) and pickled walnuts. Heaven.

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    Replies
    1. They go very well with St Agur; one of my favourites.

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  13. For something that is not complicated, it sounds complicated.

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    Replies
    1. Not really complicated, just long-winded.

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