A Day in the Life.....Making Nocino and Hiding Stains!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Hi Folks,

Hope all is well with you.....and that you are managing to eke out some fun in these remaining days of summer.

Just a little check-in here, my gal pals and I met on Saturday for what has become our Annual Nocino Making get-together.  We started by enjoying some delicious Bento boxes from our local Japanese restaurant, Sushiko. It's a treasure of a place here in Rohnert Park.

After we fortified ourselves with miso soup and sushi, we stepped outside, set up some plastic tablecloths (not enough), pulled out some heavy hammers, chisels and our trusty homemade walnut smashing wood and got to work.  We knew enough to wear nitrile gloves, but those weren't enough AT ALL!  This is messy work. Really godawful messy. No joke!

NOTE TO SELF for next years Nocino Event....

  1. wear full on playtex rubber gloves
  2. wear the schloppiest of clothes, truly throw-outables
  3. collect walnuts a tad earlier with softer shells? 
  4. keep the covid masks!!!
  5. cover EVERYTHING in plastic

M brought the walnuts from her tree, I bought the vodka, C brought the spices, and N brought lemons from her tree. Collaborative effort.

I didn't take pics of the process this year......except here are our basic supplies. Last year we used softer walnuts, and this year the inner walnut shells were much harder....so we literally had to SMASH them with a hammer while the walnuts were sitting in their little wood divet. (Hot summer, drought conditions, early fall.) We learned too late that covering them with a rag kept the splatters from flying everywhere. 




What kind of walnut to use?

We used Black Walnuts this year.....and perhaps the California walnuts of last year were better to use because the nuts inside were softer. But that could be just the timing of the harvesting this year. We won't know if the taste is different for a few months at least. 

Here is the result - 2 gallons of smashed walnuts, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, whole cloves and fresh lemon zest. Will steep for at least a couple of months before straining and bottling. 




Here's last year's batch (below).....I have hardly had more than a sip. I am more obsessed with MAKING THINGS, than, in this case, drinking them.  That's the juice for me. But dang, this is smooth yumminess. Gotta say.



This is how many each of us took home last year. 4 people, 2 gallons (with walnuts) about a smidge over a gallon after straining the walnuts and spices out.

deep walnut color

the one on the right had vanilla bean and spices
left had coffee beans as well as other spices.

BUT as I said earlier, the process is OMG MESSY!

I wore a crappy old tee shirt, and it was mostly black, so that survived. However my favorite old most worn beloved jeans got splattered, and even after oxi-clean spray on every spot and laundering, NADA. Not to mention each of us girls got black walnut stain spots on our faces, arms, ankles, and hands, fingernails, cuticles - gross!  Like age spots that don't remove!! My forehead has a big streak and I cannot scrub anymore without bruising myself. Time will have to do the work for me. I am NOT bleaching my forehead. Nope.

So my jeans, that was the most upsetting....I just couldn't make myself trash this old pair. So, I was walking by my kitchen table this morning and noticed a Sharpie....hmmmmmmmmm...


This is what happened next!

Nothing fancy here, just about 15 minutes of doodling....and each spot of walnut stain got either a flower or a leaf. That's it. I am guessing this sharpie will not wash out....we will see. Perhaps fade a bit.












So I saved my jeans. For now. Yep, I will still wear these. My face with its walnut stained spots and streaks...well, that one I will have to ride out. LOL.
 

***INTERESTED IN MAKING NOCINO?
Just google some nocino recipes...as you will soon see that everyone is quite different. Just read over a few and you will see what they hold in common, and proceed.  I don't think you can do this wrong.


Be Creative. It's Good for the Soul!
Blessings, Joanie

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