Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nocino (Green Walnut Liqueur)

Would you call a liqueur "preserve"? Actually alcohol is a great way to preserve things, but in this case you're throwing away the "ingredient" and keep the alcohol (the "preserver")...
Whatever you call it I will post this anyway!
Nocino is probably one of the very few Italian recipes that are prepared in most regions from the far North down to the South. I heard people from Veneto, Modena and Naples claiming that THEIR recipe is the one and only original one.. This one comes from a Neapolitan family friend, I hope that the rest of Italy will not feel offended! ;)

NOCINO

24 green walnuts
1 litre alcohol (95%)
4 cloves
2 cm cinnamom stick
300 gr sugar

First: the green walnuts... Traditionally the walnuts should be collected between Midsummer's eve (June 23rd) and Saint John day (June 24th) Witchy night, when wild herbs used for potions reach their maximum power... if you do not want to meander and stumble around the fields at night any of the two days will do!
The walnuts should be green and should not have formed their wooden case, but not be too mushy inside.
Cut the walnuts into two or three pieces (use gloves if you do not want your hands to turn a nasty shade of brown... green walnuts were also used for hair dyeing!).
Put in a glass jar (airtight) with the alcohol, cloves and cinnamom stick.


Leave in the sun for 2 months shaking a few times.
Boil 1 litre water with the sugar and let cool.
Filter the alcohol, mix with the syrup and filter again (I use paper filters, but any cloth or very fine filter will do).
Bottle and cork up.
Now wait patiently until next year's Midsummer's eve and enjoy!

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