About this recipe:If you can get your hands on fresh young walnuts around mid-June time, why not have a go at pickling them yourself! This is a sweet version using cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger - delicious added to a stuffing for pork or with a cheese selection. They do take a few weeks to make but you'll have a ready supply for Christmas.
1.8kg fresh young walnuts
950ml malt vinegar
470g packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated root ginger
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Use rubber gloves to handle the young walnuts and pierce each one a few times with the tines of a fork. Watch out for the clear juice this produces. It stains a dark, espresso brown and is a natural dye. Place the walnuts into a bucket and fill with enough water to cover. Stir in the salt to make a brine. Soak walnuts for 1 week, then drain and make the brine again. Soak for 1 more week.
After the second week, drain the walnuts and lay them out on trays to dry in an airy place. In 3-5 days they will turn black. Once they have all turned black, they are ready to pickle.
In a large pot, stir together the malt vinegar, dark brown sugar, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Bring to the boil and then add the walnuts. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Spoon the walnuts into sterile jars and fill with the syrup to within 1 cm of the top. Seal with lids and rings. Store in the refrigerator or sterilise in a hot water bath for 10 minutes before cooling to room temperature and storing in a cool dark cupboard.
Best if the walnuts are picked before the hard shell has formed inside.