Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pickled Walnuts - The Beginning

Walnuts are truly amazing. The wood from their grand trees have provided furniture for nanas' the world over; the shells of the nut are tough and strong, finding use in heavy industry, as well as in battle (predominantly playground-oriented). And then there's the nut itself, found gracing all manner of food, whether it be cakes or cheeseboards, ice creams and tarts, pastes, oils, sauces and preserves. Walnuts have a uniqueness of flavour which see them working harmoniously with apples, pears, prunes and honey; they also sit quite comfortably with cumin and anise.

Pickled walnuts are a bit of a rarity in New Zealand. An age-old British practice, walnuts are pickled first by immersing the immature, green-husked nut in brine and then flavored by placing in spiced vinegar for several months. When ready, the now blackened husk is removed revealing the flavoursome baby walnut, which is then eaten with cold meats and cheeses.