wild food, wild food - recipes



Pickling green walnuts is a lost skill that definitely needs to be revived. Yes, the process can be rather long and tedious but the end result is worth every stained finger. Traditionally part of a ploughman’s lunch, they pair extremely well with smoked meats and a wide range of cheeses. You can also use them to make a tasty ketchup, throw them into salads or add them to slow-cooked meaty dishes.

2kg pickled walnuts

225g salt
1 litre malt vinegar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp black peppercorns
500g brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger


Remember walnuts stain. Make sure you always wear gloves when handling. The clear juice produces a natural dye that turns everything, and we mean everything, dark brown.

Pierce each walnut with a fork and place into a bucket. Cover with water and stir in salt to make a brine. Leave for a week, drain and then make up a fresh batch of brine solution and pop the walnuts in for another week.

Drain and spread the walnuts out on trays and place somewhere dry and airy. After 3-5 days they start to turn black. Once they’ve all turned black, they are ready to pickle.

In a large pot, combine the remaining ingredients together and bring to a boil. Add the walnuts. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Spoon the walnuts into sterile jars and top with liquid. Seal with lids tightly, allow to cool to room temperature and store in a cool dark place. If stored correctly, they should last for years.

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