Thursday, October 9, 2014
Black Walnut Ice Cream with Pomegranate Caramel
The black walnuts are back in season and as delicious and prevalent as ever! On a recommendation we decided to try making a batch of black walnut ice cream!
On the trail I found another seasonal delicacy...rose hips! We couldn't resist the urge to pick a few for tea as well.
My girl gathered the black walnuts after Abalone chose a suitable tree.
After cracking and shelling the walnuts and enjoying some rose hip tea, I headed out to gather some of the many local ripe pomegranates that abound the public right-of-ways in late summer and early fall.
Crushing the pomegranate fruit and straining the deep crimson juice, I then reduced it with a generous portion of sugar to make a thick sweet and tangy pomegranate caramel sauce.
In the meantime my girl folded the black walnuts into her fresh homemade vanilla ice cream. The results were exquisite!
I have met many who claim that black walnuts are not worth the trouble to pick and process due to their low nut-meat yield and tough to crack shells. Still others complain that they are more bitter than the English walnut. It is true, these walnuts are tough...so use a rock! They yield less nut-meat than English walnuts but are 50 times more abundant on the landscape...so pick a few more! And the slight extra bitter actually makes black walnuts much better and more interesting in flavor when used in sweets. So to all the naysayers, I reply...give it a try!
Get out there and get picking! There's a harvest just waiting for you around every corner. This ice cream Sunday was just one idea, but black walnuts are also great in bread or cookies. My buddy Houston just made a shrub (alcohol mixer) with foraged pomegranate juice as well...there's plenty to do with these seasonal gifts, so get creative, and get cracking!
Keep the old ways alive!