It's happening: I'm infusing vodka with unripe walnuts.. and it's going to be yummy!
On the left, unripe English walnuts; on the right, unripe black walnuts. Both are just called green walnuts in most recipes, but I was careful to do a matching infusions with different walnuts, so I can see if I can detect a difference.
It's pretty easy in concept to make nocino: combine vodka, sugar, spices, and quartered green walnuts. I'm using a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Simply Recipes. Of course as is typical, I charted my own course.
I didn't have any lemons and didn't feel like running down to the tree, so right now there isn't any citrus element. Also, I thought I'd save time, space, and dishes, and combine the sugar, spices, and vodka in the jars before adding the walnuts:
Only as I started chucking in the walnuts did I realize I wasn't going to have enough room! I fudged it a bit and made four jars' worth of the stuff:
The walnuts were harvested here in the Bay Area over Fourth of July weekend. The English walnuts (jar on the left, also about four of them in the jar on the right) were very easy to cut through. The black walnuts (in all but the left-hand jar) were definitely starting to firm up. I only cut them in half, and even that was an effort. I was careful not to cut myself - I could see it happening all too easily.
So now I store them somewhere that I can reach them, and shake them daily for two months. I don't know if I should add the missing sugar to the right-hand jar now, or if I should wait until the walnuts come out.
For future reference, I think I'll combine the vodka and sugar, then put the walnuts in the jars, then cover with sugary booze, THEN add the spicing. Assuming a) this comes out, b) I like it, and c) I ever feel the need to make more!