Outside our house we have two large English Walnut trees. Growing up I lived in a house that had a English Walnut tree as well. I wouldn't say these are overly beautiful trees. They don't turn a vibrant yellow or red in the Fall, more of a mud yellow. They're also quite messy. They drop their leaves late in the Fall, usually the first week in December. This means I'm usually out raking leaves in the cold and rain. In the summer they drop walnuts with the help of squirrels, who take up permanent residence in the trees in mid summer.
I am, however, a firm believer in never harming a mature tree. So I rake the leaves in the cold and I sweep the walnut shells up in the heat. This year I decided to do more with my trees, I decided to make Nocino.
Nocino is an Italian liquor made with unripe, green walnuts.
Begin by cutting green walnuts into quarters. It's best to use a hammer and a flat head screw driver for this.
Next add sugar and warm spices (think cinnamon, allspice, cloves, vanilla,etc) to a seal-able jar. I added about 1/3 a cup sugar to a pint size jar.
Then fill the container with the quartered walnuts and fill with vodka. Store for 5-6 months, or at least until the holidays when you can gift your creations to friends!
One thing to note, walnuts will stain your hands and cutting boards so if you care, wear gloves and use a cutting board you don't care about or quarter the nuts outside.