Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Black Walnut Extract

Black walnuts are hard to open, expensive, and they have a relatively short shelf life. When I bought a whole lot of black walnuts for an article I was working on a while back, I made a few recipes with the nuts, but then ... I was done.

I had eaten enough black-walnut-flavored baked goods, and I was ready to move on.

I could have frozen the rest of them, of course, but sometimes things that go into the freezer disappear. The big things, sure I know they're there. But a little bag of walnuts could vanish.

So ... I decided to make an extract.

Or it could be a liqueur. It's good for baking or for use in cocktails. Wherever you want to add that black walnut flavor..

Black Walnut Extract

2 cups chopped black walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
Vodka, as needed

Put the walnuts and sugar into a quart jar. Add vodka to fill the jar up to the neck. I used Smirnoff Honey because it's what I had and I figured the honey flavor would be compatible. A plain vodka would be jut as good.

Put the lid on the jar and shake until sugar is dissolved, Or, you know, shake it occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. You don't need to shake like crazy to get it all dissolved right away.

Stash the jar in your pantry or another out-of-the-way spot and let it sit for at least a month. Or more.

Strain the walnuts from the liquid. You can use the walnuts in baking, if you like, but keep in mind that they've absorbed quite a bit of alcohol and they're pretty potent.

Strain the liquid again through several layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter for a completely clear liquid. Transfer to a bottle or jar for storage.