They are regular walnuts, but just picked before the nut shell starts to form and harden — when they are about 1 inch (2 1 /2 cm) wide.
In France and Italy, the traditional time to pick Green Walnuts is the the 24th of June, but in other areas, such as California, the ideal picking time may arrive about 2 or 3 weeks earlier.
In Italy, you can place your order for Green Walnuts in advance with your greengrocer.
These unripe nuts have a sour and slightly spicy taste that doesn’t come through in the mature nut.
Green Walnuts can be used for several things:
- they can be pickled in vinegar, or used for sweet preserves, preserved whole in syrup;
- they can be used to make alcoholic beverages such as “nocino”;
When you are preserving Green Walnuts in vinegar or syrup, you use the whole thing unpeeled — both the green skin and the inside.
You can also peel them, and eat the kernel as is out of hand.