Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Nocino!

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:

As you can see, the jar on the left is SUPER full - I siphoned out some of the vodka, and didn't put in quite as many walnuts as the recipe called for (probably 26 instead of 30). The jar in the middle is not even quite half-full - I divided its contents between it and the jar behind it. I figure once I remove the solids I can combine the liquids again. Finally, the jar on the right is short on sugar, since I ran out. I'll have to stick a note on it and add the missing sugar st some point! (Don't worry.. I put notes on the lids)

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!


  1. Not "didn't feel like running to the store," but "didn't feel like running down to the tree." Tsk tsk!

  2. Hope you wore gloves, walnut husks stain badly!

  3. Yeah... the coworker I talked to said he didn't have staining at all, and I think the relative softness of the English walnuts made them quicker to work with. I did rinse frequently, but my fingers are a little off-color, and I'm a little curious to see the state of my cutting board!