However, there he lay, and I have heard my uncle say, many a time, that the man said who picked him up that he was smiling as merrily as if he had tumbled out for a treat, and that after they had bled him, the first faint glimmerings of returning animation, were his jumping up in bed, bursting out into a loud laugh, kissing the young woman who held the basin, and demanding a mutton chop and a pickled walnut. He was very fond of pickled walnuts, gentlemen. He said he always found that, taken without vinegar, they relished the beer.
Pickled walnuts are made from the fruit of both common walnut tree varieties: Juglans regia, the Persian, royal, English or common walnut, and Juglans nigra, the black or American walnut.
The first stage is to pick the walnuts whilst they are still green and before the shells have set. Most recipes say that late June is about the best time to pick them. The soft walnuts are then soaked in brine (salt water) for at least ten days. The walnuts are then drained and left to dry in the air. Soaking the walnuts in brine causes a chemical reaction to take place and the walnuts turn dark brown to black in colour when exposed to sunlight. The now-black walnuts are then placed into jars and a pickling solution poured over them. This can vary from a straightforward pickling vinegar to a solution containing spices and sugar. The walnuts are sealed and then left in the jars for anywhere between five days and eight weeks depending on which recipe is followed.
- Dickens, Charles (1836). Pickwick Papers.
- Waugh, Evelyn (1945). Brideshead Revisited.
- Heath, Ambrose (Ed); Joan Robins (1957). Modern Home Cookery in Pictures. Odhams Press, London.