Saturday 12 June 2010

Pickled walnuts.

Any lover of strong cheese will know that there's no finer, or more sophisticated, accompaniment to a really good mature Cheddar than pickled walnuts. Back in Sussex we always prepared our walnuts during Goodwood week; here in France we just have to be vigilant, but early June is usually about right.

At this stage the most important thing is that the nut's interiors are wood-free. After 'topping & tailing', piercing several times with a fine stainless blade, and removing any blemishes, the nuts are washed and put to soak in a brine made from a ratio of 500 gms salt to 6 litres water. They need to soak for between 10 to 12 days, with the brine being changed at least twice.

When their time is up, they're washed and drained, and put out into the sunshine for a couple of days until they turn black. Then they are placed in sterilised jars and covered with a hot sweet boiled spiced vinegar, made from 1lb brown sugar, 3 pts malt (or red wine) vinegar, 1 tsp salt, a few peppercorns, and some cloves.

Leave for at least 2/3 months before tasting; I leave mine till Christmas (I always have plenty in reserve from last year).

Now all that remains is to try to get the brown stains off my fingers. I was going to buy some rubber gloves, but as usual.......

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  1. Hi Cro..they sound good although I have to say I have never had them and they are not a regular thing here,I do think though that perhaps they would have them at the wineries where all the nicer things in life are served,with fine wines and wonderful cheeses ,quince paste is also lovely with a good sharp cheese. Carole

  2. Carole, They're not to everyone's taste, but if they're not over-salted, then put into a sweetened vinegar, they are delicious. I've been making, and eating, them since I was quite young. There are two very good commercial brands which are sold under the name of 'Opie' (the best), and 'Epicure'. You may find those in Oz.

  3. I remember you telling me about Goodwood week, all those years ago, Cro. Lovely with a Plowman's lunch.

  4. Piccalilli, Branston, Walnuts. All great flavours that, as Englishmen, we tend to take for granted! We should embrace such things!

  5. I've never heard of pickled walnuts! They sound intriguing....and I'm a lover of all things pickled.

    (In fact, I was quite pickled myself last night....)

  6. Naughty girl. So was I, but that was just to avoid this bloody football 'World Cup'.

  7. Goodness. Walnuts already! That recipe looks worth trying.We used to have walnut trees on the farm during my early years. We always used to let them ripen until the shells went tacky brown and they'd stain our fingers dark brown so that it looked a if we'd been chain-smoking for years. PS another footie hater Cro. Join the club!

  8. That's what my fingers look like NOW. And me a non-smoker too.


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