Uncover the reasons to forage green walnuts and learn how to preserve them in raw honey
There are no doubts about the nutritionally rich benefits of walnuts that are largely consumed throughout the world. It is good to know that since ancient times people used all parts of the walnut tree (scientific name Juglans regia) for various reasons. In addition to fruits (nuts) it is also the wood, which is of high quality and, moreover, grows relatively quickly. Leaves, kernels and bark are used in healing, cosmetics or hair dyes.
Few people know that we can also forage green unripped fruits - green walnuts, that possess many medicinal benefits. They are even sold in a dry form in various food supplements.
What are the green walnuts?
Known also as unripened walnuts or wet walnuts are walnuts collected before their maturity of which shell is not developed yet.
In addition to their delicate taste, they also contain plenty of tannins, antibacterial and antibiotic substances and have a high content of vitamin C.
When to forage green walnuts?
If you don’t have your own walnut tree you might either walk and find some abandoned walnut tree that doesn’t belong to anybody. Sometimes you can find some green walnuts laying under the tree that has been splashed with the rain. There might be some farms in your neighbourhood that sell green walnuts or let you collect. It is a little investigative task but definitely worth to try.
Alternatively, there are farms online where you can pre-order and purchase green walnuts.
The time of collection is a relatively short window at the end of June, beginning of July, depending on the weather. Just forage them before the hard shell starts to develop as after it is too late for our project. You can easily detect by pinning a needle or pin into the walnut. if it goes easily through they are fit for our purpose, if not you're late. Another cognitive sign is that the walnut inside is soft to gooey.
Forage clean green nuts without any defects. The mildew that likes to sit on it is toxic to the touch and starts to grow as soon as the skin breaks up a little.
Collect the nuts ideally in rubber gloves, because they contain juglone which is a dye that is very difficult to wash. Wear gloves when washing and processing nuts.
To preserve green walnut in raw honey you will need just two ingredients
In this recipe is imperative to use raw honey that contains its own microorganisms and enzymes that can preserve the mixture. Only unprocessed honey is able to ferment the green walnuts without releasing the juglone from its glycoside bonds. The honey also need to be liquid
Preserving green walnuts in honey recipe
The process of making green walnuts in honey is simple and doesn’t require any specific tools. Just prepare one glass jar, sharp knife and gloves
Wash the walnuts thoroughly. Be aware that the green nuts stain. They look white and pretty inside but they produce a liquid that whatever touches stain dark brown including your cutting board. So protect everting you can. Wear protective gloves and old cloth or apron while cutting the green walnuts with a sharp knife in quarters.
Fill the glass jar with walnuts and pour over the raw honey
Close the jar tightly and leave the walnut-honey mixture for at least 2 months in a light spot, but do not expose it to direct sunlight.
Every week open the lid to let the air which is produced by fermentation go away and stir the mixture
The honey, as well as walnuts, will darken in colour. The honey-walnut mixture will have syrup consistency as the liquid released from walnuts will dilute the honey.
Strain the mixture through the sieve and use the healing syrup by spoon or leave it with nuts and use it as it is.
Use 1 tablespoon every morning or when needed. The taste is a little bit bitter.
Green walnut benefits
Traditionally, walnuts have been known for their lipid profile (presence of omega 3 s - acid which may help to reduce risk of heart disease. In addition, walnuts contain a variety of other bioactive compounds, such as vitamin E (tocopherol) and polyphenols
Comparison of green walnuts versus matured walnuts in terms of medicinal benefits
This study compared the content of two valuable substances - polyphenols and tocopherols (Vit E) based on their degree of maturity. It has been confirmed that the quantity of polyphenol and its antioxidant activity decreases with a maturity of walnuts. Whereas level of tocopherol increase as the walnuts matured. So unripe nuts possess much stronger antioxidant activity. Most probably the main reason is the presence of green husk that is an excellent source of the polyphenolic compound.
Polyphenols in green walnuts may help decrease inflammation, which is responsible for many chronic diseases.
Their anti-inflammatory properties might help with sore and inflamed throat - mix it with water and use it for gargling your throat
If you suffer sore throat and search for natural remedies this calendula tincture might do the trick.
The green walnuts in honey act as a natural antiparasitics and have therefore worm destroying effect.
They also may reduce to the risk of certain cancers, including breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. However, more human studies are needed to confirm this.
Scientists are still uncovering many ways that walnuts’ fiber and plant compounds, including polyphenols, may interact with your gut microbiota and contribute to your health.
Most likely you will hear more about green walnuts in the future as more researchers study their medicinal benefits
Don’t look for excuses and include green walnuts in your diet already.
Walnuts are a potent allergen, moreover with the green husk. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, I would not eat the unripped nuts until you feed yourself again.
I suggested 1 recipe with raw honey, however, you can also make candied green nuts that are very popular in Balcan countries, pickled walnuts in vinegar or make this delicious Italian liqueur called nocino.
If sealed properly and stored in cool and dry place they should last up to 1 year.