Walnuts are good for you. Humans know this. Squirrels know this too. Every year they strip bare my walnut tree – usually overnight when I’m not on sentry duty. Squirrels should also know that their little bodies are high in iron, niacin, phosphorous, selenium, B6 and B12. Squirrels are good for humans and are now featured on menus.
Green walnuts are the answer – so I have been told. Not that anyone has been able to enlighten me as to what pickled green walnuts taste like. But it seems as though this is the only way I am going to get anywhere near MY nuts. So here is the process.
I picked the young green walnuts at the end of June, before a nut forms inside. You can test this with a pin inserted. If it meets resistance then you have left it too late and will have to cry.
Wear gloves (or your fingers and nails will be enhanced with an awful shade of brown for a long time). Prick the nuts with a fork and soak in a brine solution for 3 days. (1 litre water to 100g salt) On the 4th day, drain off brine, make a new solution and continue soaking walnuts for a further 9 days. Drain and they will look like this:
Leave them to dry on a rack for 24 hours and they will turn a wonderful pewter shade like this:
Next, make a pickling spice of your choice. I used 1 litre malt vinegar, 500 g brown sugar, 1 teaspoon all spice, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. This I brought to the boil then dropped the walnuts in and simmered gently for 15 mins.
Finally, I sterilized some jars, popped the nuts in and now I am told they can last for years. So I still don’t know what they taste like but
AT LEAST I HAVE BEATEN THE SQUIRRELS.