Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Making Nocino

Last July, my friend Kate of Snowflake Kitchen, put a call out to us locals about her abundance of green walnuts from the tree on her property. She had plans to make Nocino and thought we may want to give it a try. Yes, please! I was in her neighborhood when she wasn’t home, so I felt like a bit of thief as I foraged a bag of the green nuts, but homemade booze is worth the possible embarrassment of her neighbors calling the police.

A photo posted by Kate (@snowflakekitchen) on

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, minus the cloves, and shook my jars once a day for about three months. It looks like witches’ brew at first, very green and possible toxic, but then changes to a rich brown, deep green.

I strained the liquid from the jars and it has the consistency of a light syrup and smells nutty and warm. I sampled a small glass and it’s definitely potent. I like Mr. Lebovitz’s idea of a topping for ice cream… that will definitely be in my future.

There is something about creating an enjoyable drink or food from items you gather from your yard, a friend’s yard, local farmers, or the woods (if you’re daring and safe) that feels inevitable and right. I’ll have a part two of the walnut saga as I attempt to make black walnut bitters from the same nuts that have completely ripened. My goal is to make something like this. It’s good to have goals…

Cyn Thomas is the illustrator, designer and pattern maker of RiverDog Prints. Her paper goods and gifts are guided by earth, animals, function, food and cocktails. You can also find Cyn canning in her kitchen, walking her dog, being outnumbered by her boys and husband or reading herself to sleep.
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