Farmers’ Market Finds: Green Walnuts

Summer is in full swing and the market is alive with every color, flavor and panama hat under the sun, making it one of our favorite times of year. Unique pleasures like figs, apricots, kumquats, corn, wild fennel, passion fruits, squash blossoms and fraises des bois abound.

Since no trip to the market is complete without one fun, new discovery, this week we’re taking a look at the weathered walnut’s vivacious younger cousin, the green walnut. Spotted at one of our favorite booths, the purveyors of La Nogalera Walnut Oil, a delicious, versatile oil. (You can drizzle it over salads, substitute it for regular oil in a brownie recipe, pour it on ice cream… we digress.)

Produced in the traditional French manner by three orchards in Santa Barbara County, the bright green fruity nut caught our eye. The green walnut, much like its more popular power food relation, the dried walnut, is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids and has exceptionally high levels of Vitamin C, a great natural remedy for the common cold. In Chinese medicine, walnuts are known to tonify the kidney, strengthen the back, relieve asthma and aid rebellious chi.

Chopped up, the green walnut is something you can easily add to any salad for an extra hit of well-rounded nutrition, but if you’re looking for a good excuse to escape to the kitchen for some alone time, here’s a great, semi-involved (but well worth the effort) recipe for a killer green walnut ketchup. Bonus: it makes a unique, healthy, homemade hostess gift for summer BBQs.

Green Walnut Ketchup


  • 24 green walnuts
  • 1 cup salt-to 5 cups water brine
  • 2 quarts high quality vinegar like O California Cuvée Vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. ground mace
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 3-4″ piece of fresh horseradish

Experiment with different wine vinegars and spices like allspice, cinnamon and white and pink peppercorns for extra zing.

1. Poke the walnuts, then place them in the brine for nine days or so, shaking every day (use a glass or ceramic bowl for this, not metal).
Remove the walnuts, crush them, pour out the brine, pour in the vinegar and put the walnuts in the vinegar for about a week, stirring every day.

2. Strain out the liquid into a pan (put the walnut pieces in another bowl to make chutney!), add the remaining ingredients and boil for 15-20 minutes.

3. Strain this concoction and place in cute, inexpensive canning jars.

Recipe adapted from The L.L. Bean Game & Fish Cookbook via Agrarianista

Image credit: David Lebovitz

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