A traditional preserve made from unripe, green black walnuts. 1 large-mouth quart jar can fit about 30-35 green nuts. (Exact sizes will depend on the individual tree and time of harvest).
Course: Appetizer, Dessert
Cuisine: Armenian, Georgian, Greek
Keyword: Black Walnuts, Green walnuts
1 ½pounds680 g (roughly 30–-35) green black walnuts, the size of Pping-P pong balls
Handful of dried galium leavesor a vanilla bean (seeds removed), or a tablespoon of vanilla extract
4cups800 g sugar
4cups945 ml water
¼cup60 ml fresh lemon juice
Handful of dried galium leavesa vanilla bean (seeds removed), or a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract
Using a sturdy vegetable peeler and gloves to prevent staining your hands, peel the green walnuts, which will be more difficult than it sounds. Next, pierce the walnuts 5 or 6 times each with a thick needle, the tip of a thermometer, or any other small, sharp object-a fork can work too.
Put the peeled green nuts in a container, cover with water by an inch, and allow them to ferment for a week, burping occasionally and changing the water a few times, or as often as you can remember.
After a week, drain the walnuts and tie the galium in cheesecloth for easy removal if you’re using it.
Combine with the sugar, and water, and galium or vanilla and simmer for roughly 1 hour on low heat, or until the walnuts are soft.
Skim off and discard any scum or foam that rises to the top, to ensure a clear syrup. Discard the galium leaves. If you used a vanilla bean, save it to pack in the jar(s).
After an hour, turn up the heat, bring the syrup to a boil, and reduce until it looks like warm honey, and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 to -20 minutes, then turn off the heat and transfer the nuts to mason jars with tight-fitting lids (I like quart jars here) to cool.
Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar, fill nearly to the brim with the boiling hot syrup, screw on the lids and turn the jars upside down. You’ll probably have some syrup left over.
There's no need to water-bath process these as the heavy syrup and additional acid make for a very strong preservative. After the jars cool, they should have sealed.
The jars should seal naturally from the heat of the syrup, but any that don’t can be processed in a water bath. Allow the walnuts to age for at least a month before enjoying. Harvested at the right stage, I guarantee you they’re worth the wait.