I have some experience using walnuts for cordials and I currently have a
batch of nocino in process (it's been "infusing" for about a month and a
First, you may find significant differences between a nocino made with
Persian (English) walnuts as compared with black walnuts. A couple of
years ago I made batches of cordials/liqueurs with both for comparison.
The black walnuts, not surprisingly, produced a more intense flavor. Most
people who tasted both liked the black walnut better than the Persian
I suspect the same would be true for nocino, at least I suspect you'll
taste some significant differences. I am working with a friend of mine to
test this somewhat informally. He made a batch of nocino last year with
black walnuts. Currently, it is drinkable, but as with many such drinks,
it will get better with age. Earlier this year, I found a source for
Persian walnuts in CA and ordered 5lbs. I gave him half and kept half for
myself. We both made batches with these. Eventually, we'll be able to
see how the two types of walnuts compare in nocino (the batches will have
different start dates, which offends my scientific sensibilities, but I
did say it was an informal test) ;-)
My source for the Persian walnuts takes the time each year to harvest
green walnuts for folks who want to make nocino or green walnut relish.
The ones I got from them were perfect in terms of their stage of
un-ripeness! They were not inexpensive.
In my research on nocino in the scientific literature, I found a couple of
studies published in food science journals that tested nocino for things
such as antioxident properties. In one of the studies (maybe both - I
don't have them handy right now), they also tested the effects of
harvesting time. In part, this is due to the "legend" that the walnuts
should be harvested on a particular day.
I will be happy to report back our findings, but it will be a while! ;-)
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