Nocino / Green Walnuts
- Hank Suominen
Nocino made at home:
30 walnuts (collected on the 25th of June)
1½ l of pure Alcohol
750 gr. sugar
10 gr. cinnamon
10 gr. cloves
rind of 1 lemon
400 ml water
Cut the 30 green walnuts with the kernel into 4 parts and put them in a 3 litre jar, add the alcohol and half of the sugar along with the spices and lemon rind. Tightly seal the jar and place the infusion in a sunny place in direct sunlight.
With the water and the other half of the sugar, a water and sugar syrup will be prepared, by melting the sugar in lukewarm water on a low heat.
During the time that the infusion remains in the sun, ensure that the walnuts are covered at all times by syrup prepared previously and every 2 or 3 time per week turn the jar to maintains all the nuts under the direct sun.
After 2 months the infusion of walnuts, alcohol and other ingredients will have a mauvish-black colour - at this point add the remaining syrup and remove from the sunlight.
The infusion should be bottled during Autumn equinox; it should be filtered with special paper cones or with layers of gauze in the funnel.
Store the bottle in the cellar and consume after one year.
Serve ice cold; ideal as digestive after a meal.
I've made nocino with a very similar recipe. I note for the record that its very tasty at room tempature too! Some pointers on those walnuts---if you are gathering your walnuts in southern California and wait until June 25, you may have to try again next year--the shells can be too hard by then. I learned that the hard way trying to make vin de noix one year. Just keep checking the walnuts until you can just distinguish the shell and the nut on the inside but you can still cut them with a knife.
I just strained and fortified a batch of nocino this week and was intrigued by a suggestion to save the strained out walnuts and recover with sweet marsala, which could later be used for a cordial and the nuts chopped up and put into ice cream. I refrigerated the strained nuts until I could get my hands on the needed marsala. Now that they are once again covered in booze, do you think I should leave the jar out at room temp, in a dark place? Or should I put them back into the fridge?
I cannot decide...
I'd like to free up the space in my fridge (it's a gallon size jar!), but I don't want to encourage mold, or worse yet, ants!
Any advice is appreciated. I also have no idea how long to leave them in the marsala, but am thinking I'll check them around X-mas.