• Bridgette Macilwaine

Walnut pickling

Pickling walnuts - a fun, simple and a exciting addition to our community garden chest of skills, as Ieva shares her knowledge and experience with us in this pickling process.

There has been much excitement around the walnut pickling activities recently, as it’s a very simple process once you understand the steps and with a few days of patience, they are ready!

Many people may have not heard of pickled walnuts or even tried them, unless ordering a cheese platter in a nice restaurant. As an eccentric addition to the English kitchen, they are surprisingly not on offer in most eating locations. They are actually very easy to make, and with a soft texture with a slight bitterness and delicious flavour, these make a great addition to our community garden.

The whole process starts with selecting young walnuts, in June and early July, before they start forming the nut within, and for many of us who don’t quite know how walnuts of formed, they are really quite fascinating. The outer shell/skin is a green oblong shape, the beautiful walnut shape itself is formed inside this thick outer skin/shell

Most people walnuts from the shops without realising how these delicious and super nutritious nuts are actually formed - have a look at these images to see where the magic happens! So when we refer to pickling walnuts, it’s not actually the nut itself, it’s the small green oblong young nut/shell we use – before the nut is formed. These images show that this specific walnut cannot be used for pickling, because the nut has already begun to form within.

To get started with your pickling process, follow these few simple steps:

  1. Gather 2kg of young walnuts - to check the young walnuts are ready, they will be easily pierced with a kitchen skewer, in several directions, and this helps to check there is no resistance within from a young forming nut.

  2. With your harvest of young walnuts (in this case we will use 2kg) first poke them through in several locations with a fork and then soak fully in a large jar or pot of salt water for a week (approx. 200g salt) this process helps remove the bitterness from the nuts.

  3. Next drain the nuts from the water and lay them in the sun on a tray or board for a couple of days until they turn black.

  4. Prepare the vinegar mix by boiling the ingredients for 15 mins, add the blackened walnuts into jars, then pour this mixture in and leave to pickle for 2-3 weeks before eating them. You can keep these jars sealed for a few weeks to a few months and enjoy with cheese.

  5. Remember to clearly label these jars, because if anyone does not know what they’re looking at, they might get worried by your jars of black liquid or possibly throw them out!

The pickling mixture:

  • 1 litre malt vinegar

  • 500g brown sugar

  • 1 tsp allspice

  • 1 tsp cloves

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger


Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or would love to join us at Whitehawk, head to the contact section and let us know!