Wild Things Round Up - Black Walnut


When we started the month, I had Beks, my co-host from Cauldrons and Crockpots, send me a box of black walnuts because I was so certain I'd have none with which to cook otherwise.  You see, black walnut trees are out of range here; given the rather extreme climate, they don't naturally like to grow in this area.

But, as so often happens with foraging, just as soon as you think you can't find a plant, suddenly you have a bounty just beneath your nose.  And this time, just a few days after I received my box of black walnuts from California, I started finding black walnut trees in my area.  It seems quite a few other people love the taste of black walnuts the way that I do, and have planted them here, hoping for a few precious nuts.  Lucky me, because by scooping up a few nuts here and there, those having fallen on the sidewalks and sweets, I've been able to collect a respectable amount of nuts.  This is especially good, because I'll be able to revisit some of my favorite recipes from the Wild Things Round Up throughout the winter.
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You can always count on Hank Shaw, author of Hunter, Gather, Cook to take simple foraged foods, and turn out elegant, mouthwatering recipes.  I don't even like cookies, but the addition of black walnuts and hints of orange in these Black Walnut Snowball Cookies makes me want to taste this recipe.


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Ready for another sweet treat?  You'll want to bake up this Black Walnut Cake from Artemis Botanicals.  The rich taste of black walnut is perfectly complemented by a seasonal (elderberry or fig, anyone?) fruit topping.


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Have you ever heard the word arsh before?  According to Tipper, of the Blind Pig & the Acorn, it was her Granny and Paps' pronunciation of Irish.  This goes a long way to explain the origin of the name of her favorite black walnut recipe, Arsh Potato Cake, which has white, or arsh potatoes, among it's ingredients.


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Be certain to save this recipe for the early growing stage of black walnuts next year.  The young fruit of black walnut can be used to make a scrumptious spiced liqueur called Liqueur de Noix or Nocino.  Curious?  Try this recipe by David Lebovitz.  This drink is delicious on it's own, but also tastes wonderful in desserts or atop ice cream.


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Our friend Kristi sent in this recipe.

In Slovenia, there is a very popular liqueur called Orahovica.  I have
made this before, with plum brandy that I distilled myself.

5 or 6 Green Walnuts in shells (picked off the tree)
1 quart brandy
1/2 pound sugar (I use honey)

Poke several holes in the walnuts with a fork, going all the way to the nut
inside.  Put them in a quart jar with the sugar/honey.  Pour brandy over,
cover with gauze, and leave in the sun for one month before straining.

I also like to tincture green walnuts in witch hazel distillate, to
fight off topical fungal infections.


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We laugh about this a lot, but for any given Wild Things ingredient, I'm more likely to come up with savory recipe, and Beks is more likely to come up with sweets.  This month, she made a gorgeous Black Walnut and Pear Tart.  Makes me wish I had gotten the baking gene.


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Here's my own recipe for Warm Black Walnut Milk.  I really enjoy black walnuts with dairy, and this combo will be my go-to hand warmer throughout the winter.


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I enjoy black walnuts sprinkled on just about anything.  In this case, I topped Buckwheat Crepes with Wild Plum Butter sauce with their perfumed crunch.


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The first time I ever made chicken liver pate, I didn't have butter on hand, and substituted cream cheese.  Turns out that cream cheese gives a great texture and sweetness to pate, and it has been my standard ever since.  That is until last year, when I discovered that black walnuts add a whole new layer of depth to the dish.  Try this recipe for Cream Cheese Chicken Liver Pate with Black Walnuts, and you just might convert a few liver-haters.


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Pumpkin soup is an autumn staple for a lot of people in North America.  I've always disliked variations that tended toward sweetness, those with apple and cinnamon and nutmeg.  Instead, I prefer pumpkin soup made with green chiles and bacon, and other savory treats which act as a foil to pumpkin's sugar.  So it wasn't much of a surprise that Black Walnut Pumpkin Soup became an instant favorite with me last year.  The soup is made from just a few ingredients, and yet feels luxurious and rich in the mouth.


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We'd like to send out a big thank you to everyone who participated this month by sharing inspired recipes made from foraged black walnuts.  See you next month!

I'm sharing the round up with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

Comments

  1. October is black walnut season here in the Midwest. I don't really care for them myself BUT I came across a black walnut cake from 150 years ago that made me want to rethink my position.
    http://effiesrecipebox.blogspot.com/2011/09/150-year-old-walnut-pound-cake-recipe.html

    Substitute real lard or more butter for shortening and it sounds exquisite!

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  2. Black walnut is new to tome. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

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  3. I have never had the pleasure of tasting black walnuts, but I really want to now! What a wonderful roundup of recipes. I'm particularly fascinated by the Black Walnut and Pear Tart and the Arsh Cake. Thank you for sharing this fantastic post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

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  4. Hey, in your post you say "Here's my recipe for warm black walnut milk"...Am I missing the hyperlink to that recipe? We are up to our ears in black walnuts...7-10 trees on the land. I'd love to try this- sounds wonderful!

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  5. What?!!!! Oh man, I'd love to be up to my ears in black walnuts. They are so very precious and rare here. I found a town with quite a few trees this year, and was disappointed to find that after drying the hulls, the nutmeats were shriveled up :( I don't know if that's how they always grow, or if it was just an off year.

    I've inserted the link, thanks for pointing that out. It's such a delicious and simple recipe. In fact, I think I'd like a cup of it now.

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