How to pickle walnuts, and when to pickle walnuts. If you have a walnut tree then preserving them is a treat. They will last for years.

How to pickle walnuts is a skill that is worth preserving.  Walnuts are delicious and abundant, and a handful of shelled walnuts are a nutritious snack at any time of day. The shelled walnuts are the older nuts. The young green nuts are the ones that need to be picked for preserving. For other methods of preserving see how to make potted shrimp or how to make the most delicious raspberry gin.

When to pick walnuts

The immature green fruit required for pickling needs to be harvested in the summer before the shell has formed. Check for the readiness with a pin: stick it in the end where the flower was and if the shell has started to form it will be about a quarter of an inch in.

What to eat pickled walnuts with

Pickled walnuts work well with ploughmans. Or serve some with your cheese board at the end of supper. They go marvellously with British blue cheese.

How to pickle walnuts

Ingredients for 2kg pickled walnuts

  • 225g salt
  • 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
  1. Prick the walnuts with a fork and cover with water and the salt.
  2. Leave for a week, then drain and renew with a fresh brine solution for another week.
  3. Drain the walnuts and lay out on trays in a dry, airy place. After a few days they will have turned black.
  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Bring them to the boil, add the walnuts and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and spoon the nuts into large jars and cover with the liquid. They should last for years.

Harvest the matured nuts when the protective green hull containing the brown nut splits. These will be perfect in a bowl at Christmas time with a nutcracker to hand. Alternatively they meld exquisitely well with pheasant. Try these pheasant and walnut pasties and take them as a piece when you are out on the hill.