“Can you believe it? Eighty cents a walnut,” my friend Jim chuckled with admiration at the prices his crop brings this time of year. Jim has a profitable walnut orchard; profitable because he makes use of walnuts at every season of growth. In June, walnut trees naturally drop extra nuts to protect the trees from overproduction which would result in smaller nuts and strained branches.
“Well, centuries ago, the story goes, Italians were both hungry and thrifty. Instead of letting the green nuts rot on the ground, they learned to make liqueur from them. Italians continue to be the primary buyers of our green nuts, which they still use to make nocino. Thank goodness for Italians,” Jim added.
Jim doesn’t sell nocino, but he does make it for personal use. I tasted it one year at his home during a Capay Valley science club meeting. Now that I see green walnuts dropping from my trees, I’ll gather some up and use them to make it myself.
A recipe for Nocino can be found at the following site: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/07/liqueur-de-noix-green-walnut-liq/
If you stay at Cache Creek Inn this time of year, you can gather your own green walnuts and make a batch!