“A thing which I regret, and which I will try to remedy some time, is that I have never in my life planted a walnut. Nobody does plant them nowadays—when you see a walnut it is almost invariably an old tree” said George Orwell.
Not in our garden.
5 years ago in April we planted a walnut tree. I’m normally not so good at remembering dates, but this was a ‘memorable’ birthday request from Mrs Social e-Ready, so that helped fix it in my mind.
There are 2 options for cropping walnuts: pick them green for pickling July time, or leave them till the covering of the hard shells go brown later in the year, late September or early October. Last year the squirrels had what few nuts the tree produced, so this year we decided to beat them to it.
Our crop wasn’t huge, just a kilogram, but enough for pickling. The technique is to soak them in salted water for 10 days, then another 10 days in fresh water. Exposing the nuts to sunlight to dry then turns them black. You mix some spices in vinegar for the pickling, and apparently they last years. For the full recipe we’re using, go here. They come highly recommended with a ploughmans, or blue cheese.
One key aspect the books don’t mention, though, is the impressive and so-far lasting stain on my fingers. Anyone would think I was a seasoned smoker. Still, definitely worth it to have pickled walnuts for Christmas.