Saturday, 9 January 2010

Noxious Nocino

Remember those green walnuts I collected last year?  I was so excited by them that I started off a batch of pickled walnuts, and also some walnut liqueur - Nocino. 

Well, the moment of truth arrived... and, well, truth is the Nocino is vile!  I have to admit that my suspicions were raised when the previously beautiful jar of bright green nuts began turning first brown, then black.  Within weeks I had to push the jar to the back of the utility room counter because I really didn't want to be looking at it every day.  I was finding the sight of it faintly disturbing.

Here's the 'before' shot - gorgeous:

Aaaaaaaaand 'after':

Bleugh!  Note too the unappealing oily sheen on top of the liquid.  What's that all about?!  I guess the nuts contain natural oils which have leached out into the vodka.  But whatever, it's not looking appetising.

Now there are some things that look gross but taste nice.  Pickled walnuts for example.  These turned black too, but actually taste good - we've enjoyed some with those post-Christmas cold-meats-and-chips kind of meals and they're fine.  A few have needed discarding as the shells had obviously started to form, so they're a little unyielding in parts when you try to eat them (I'm really selling them aren't I!) but honestly, they do taste nice.  But the Nocino... no.

Here it is when poured out of the jar:

Black, oily, scummy - pass the shot glass!

I strained it into a bottle, and there it sits now, looking slightly accusingly at me...  good job I only used cheap vodka.

Even David Lebovitz, a fan of this liqueur, and from whose blog I took the recipe declines to drink this neat, but instead suggests pouring it over vanilla ice-cream as a dessert.  After a tentative sip of the Nocino, we decided that ice-cream might indeed make it more palatable so we tried it earlier this week.  Unfortunately, even the sweetness of vanilla ice-cream couldn't disguise the bitterness of the liqueur.

I think our best hope is to push the bottle to the back of the drinks cabinet and forget about it.  A bit of 'aging' might just improve it - and if not, in a few years' time I'll have no qualms about just pouring it down the sink.

Ah well, you win some, you lose some...


Karen said...

Too bad, Norm! What a disappointment to invest your time and effort and all for naught. But I'm sure it happens to every cook.

snowy said...

What a shame, Norm. Very disappointing for you.
Glad you enjoyed the pickled walnuts.

nipitinthebud said...

I first tried pickled walnuts at my in-laws several christmas's ago. I couldn't quite get my head around how a hard brown nut could become soft and palatable by pickling (I wasn't in to gardening then so didn't know about picking them when they're green!). I do like them though and I'm glad you've test driven home made pickling. I shall be badgering Henri for some of his next ear :o)

nipitinthebud said...

saw this and thought of you
(apologies if you're not a meat eater!)

Norm said...

Oooh, thanks Nic! I might just have to try that sometime soon. I am definitely a meat-eater, so no need to apologise.