Transitioning from Summer to Autumn becomes so much easier when we think of all the great things we are about to see on market stalls in the next two months. Two months, however, is far to generous when it comes to one of my favourite Autumnal ingredients, “The Wet Walnut”.
The walnut rarely needs an introduction, but the history of this little fella is quite something. Before we were brave enough to eat it, the husks of the black walnut were used to make ink. Not just any ink, but the ink used by the famous artists Leonardo De Vinci & Rembrandt. Other husks were used in Dyeing clothes and of course the Romans and very fashionable Europeans decided it made great hair dye.
Walnuts are nutrient dense, full of proteins and contain all those good fatty acids. You would think that would be enough praise, but I m not sure it is. However, its true to say, that Walnuts have gone bonkers world wide and the production of walnuts is a commercial entity so huge that, like so many natural products these days, I m concerned that the natural production of walnuts will be under scrutiny and at peril of the Chinese mass market, and preservation tenchniques used to ensure they arrive from picking to supermarket shelves, looking fresh as daises. So with this in mind, this next two weeks is even more precious.
We pickle the green walnuts, make candied walnuts for salads and cakes (recipe on the salads page), make walnut butter for toast, but for me, the next two weeks is about the WET WALNUT!
The wet walnut is literally just fallen from the tree. The shell of the nut will feel damp to the touch, but the real experience is the nut itself. Once cracked from its shell, the skin of a wet walnut will simply peel right off and leave you with a pure white nut flesh. The bitterness of the brown skin is replaced with a sweetness and flavour that is hard to explain. There is no comparison. Once bitten, the old adage of “Peeling Grapes” whilst you resume your position on the Chaise longue, shall be replaced for two whole weeks with “Peeling Walnuts”. Right to the bitter end I shall be cracking and peeling, eating, baking, buttering, freezing and fall into a very quick depression as the shells dry out, until of course, ….Its time for the “CHESTNUT”
I hope you enjoy my recipes please click on the thumbnail below to link you too my recipe page.