Tag: nocino

Beech Leaf Noyau and Beech Nut Nocino

Noyaux is French for ‘nut liqueur’ which makes me wonder if the beech nuts (beechmast) were ever used to make a liqueur, as well as the leaves? Here is a tried and tested leaf noyaux recipe and an experimental beech nut nocino!

Beech Leaves

Beech Leaf Noyaux

A bag of young green beech leaves
1 litre of gin
100 g sugar or honey

Gather your beech leave in early May when they are new, young and green. Fill about two thirds of a 1.5 litre preserving jar with leaves. Cover with gin. Close the lid and leave for two weeks. The colour should have changed to a fresh yellow-green and smell a little nutty. Strain after 2 or 3 weeks and compost the leaves.

Dissolve the sugar or honey in a little water and add to the strained gin along with a barman’s measure of brandy. Bottle and keep for 6 weeks – if you can wait that long!

PS I recently discovered a jar I’d forgotten. So it was left ‘on the leaf’ for six months. I’ve strained it off and it is still excellent. So don’t worry too much about timing!

Beech leaf noyau

Beech Nut Nocino

1 litre of grappa (vodka or other white spirit 40 – 45 % vol.)
250g to 400 g sugar (depending how sweet you like liqueurs)
50-60 unripe beech nuts (more or less)
2 roasted dandelion roots

Gather the beech nuts when still green in June before they go hard and brown in the Autumn. Roughly chop the nuts and put into a preserving jar. Pour the alcohol over them, adding the dandelion root. Seal the jar tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 4 weeks.

After 4 weeks, strain off the liquid, discarding the nuts. Gently heat the sugar in a little hot water until all the crystals have dissolved. Add the resulting thin syrup to the filtered alcohol. Bottle and leave for another 4 weeks.

Foragers Dió Pálinka aka Green Walnut Grappa

Green Walnut Grappa

Adapted from a Dió Pálinka (Walnut Brandy) recipe that I tried in a Hungarian cellar at Somló – amongst many others!! Pálinka is traditionally a fruit brandy but as most of my readers won’t have a still (it’s illegal) I have turned it into a grappa or nocino instead.

1 litre of grappa (vodka, pálinka, white spirit 40 – 45 % vol.)
250g to 400 g sugar (depending how sweet you like liqueurs)
10 large green walnuts (or 15 small ones)

Option 1:
Traditional: a couple of roasted coffee beans
Foragers: a couple of roasted dandelion roots or toasted cleavers seed.

Option 2: 
Traditional: 5-6 cloves, a stick of cinnamon and half a mace
Foragers: a half handful of common hogweed seeds and alexanders seed (ripe green hogweed seeds can also be toasted)

Connoisseur’s method:
Pick the walnuts while the skin is still green and a fork will pierce right through them including the young shell inside. Wearing gloves – unless you want brown stained hands – cut each nut into quarters (don’t peel them) then half again. Put the pieces into a preserving jar and pour the alcohol over them, adding beans or spices if you prefer. Seal the jar tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 6 weeks.

Flickr - cyclonebill - Valnøddesnaps

Walnuts soaking for a 6 week stretch

After 6 weeks, strain off the dark brown liquid, discarding the blackened walnuts. Gently heat the sugar in a little hot water until all the crystals have dissolved. Add the resulting thin syrup to the filtered alcohol. Bottle and leave for another 6 weeks.

Cheat’s Method:
Chop the walnuts as before then put all the ingredients, adding half a litre of water, into a saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Pour all into the preserving jar. Seal and leave for at least 2 weeks. Strain and bottle.

More things to do with Green Walnuts here.