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Walnut vinegar recipe

Photo: walnuts infusing in vinegar

Photo: walnuts infusing in vinegar

Last year I was a bit late picking walnuts for The Grand Pickled Walnut Challenge. Not wanting to waste the nuts that were clearly far too hard to pickle, I flexed my muscles and cut a few in half. I added these to some white wine vinegar, popped the experiment onto a shelf in the barn and forgot all about it.

About a month ago I was searching the shelves for empty vodka and gin bottles to make raspberry liqueur. My hand slipped and the bottle of walnut vinegar smashed on the ground. I managed to wipe a drop onto my forefinger as the vinegar soaked away. It was delicious. The walnuts had softened the edge of the vinegar. This would have been perfect for a salad without oil.

I’d planned to remove the walnuts after six months but they had been infusing the vinegar for nearly a year.

Last Saturday I went walnut picking on this beautiful estate. I had planned to go back at the end of June but when I arrived two weeks later, my friend’s face flickered.
“You might be too late.”

We tested the walnuts. A darning needle speared into the pointed end furthest from the branch indicated that I was probably just in time. So we picked, gossiped, laughed and filled a chubby carrier bag.

This afternoon I woke from a deep sleep and remembered that the green walnuts had been hanging in the kitchen for a week.
“I wonder if they know that they have been harvested and are waiting in suspended animation? Or have they been maturing for the week?”

After supper I crept downstairs and tested them. 22 were pretty hard the rest went into a saline solution. I halved the hard nuts. I divided them between three 750g, warm, sterilised passata bottles. I topped these up with 1500 ml of good white wine vinegar. I’ll test after six months but the sultry flavour of the vinegar matured for a year still lingers.

If you’re too late for pickled walnuts this year you might like to try making walnut vinegar. It’s easy, delicious and just takes minutes to make.

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  1. Valerie Westh

    I found your recipe and couldnt wait to try it out. So I whent on a hunt in my neighbours garden ( with permit) and picked 22 walnuts and pit them i jars with my favorite french whitewine vinegar. just a week after the vinegar is kind of “muddy” looking and I wonder what I must have done wrong? I washed the walnuts before putting them in the jars? Can you help me? I just might have time to pick up some more before the season ends 🙂
    Valerie from Denmark

    • Summer Meadows

      Most recipes say to soak in brine for a week, then rinse and soak in brine for a second week before putting them in a jar with hot vinegar. The muddy stage happens during the brining process. I think you will have to start again and lose your vinegar I am afraid. Rinse them clean then put in a pan with two handfuls of salt and then pour water over them and stir. Let them sit in that for a week then rinse and try pickling them again.

      • Summer Meadows

        Sorry further to my last reply I see you were going for the infused vinegar recipe – I was referring to pickled young walnuts. I am guessing your walnuts were young and undeveloped- just right for turning into pickled walnuts. the infused vinegar recipe was the writer’s experiment with nuts that had begun to harden. Judging from the fact yours have gone muddy I think you will have to salvage as I mentioned above. I have a pan of muddy looking brine full of green to black almonds just now! All the best

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    How lovely that you can finally use the walnuts from your own tree! Nocino sounds intriguing.

    I’m resting. Decorating seems a very distant dream.

    Hi Beth

    Yes, it’s well worth making this vinegar. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Walnut vinegar recipe looks great. Enjoyed it very much. It is appreciated.

  4. magic cochin

    I suppose that pickling walnuts and making walnut vinegar isn’t too strenuous – we won’t tell your doctor 😉

    Cliff has made been pickling walnuts – in standard and sweet spiced cider vinegar. And I’ve made Nocino. We’ve used the walnuts from our own tree this year – the one I bought for Cliff for his birthday the first year we lived here, the tree is now 10 years old and is really doing well. There are still some green walnuts left, so maybe I’ll make some walnut vinegar too.

    Hope you are now resting with a good book.

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