Using a vegetable peeler, remove the thinnest possible top layer of the nuts’ peel. Then core the nut, by piercing from top to bottom and removing as much of the inside as possible. Thread onto a metal skewer and put into a non-metallic bowl. Cover with cold water and weigh down with a plate.
Change the water and repeat the process every day for 7 days, to remove the bitterness of the walnuts.
After 7 days, drain the nuts. Dilute the pickling lime in enough water to cover them, and leave them to soak in it for 12 hours – this will firm the peel and keep it intact.
Drain them and rinse very well, under lots of running water.
Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil, simmering for 10 minutes. Drain and return to the saucepan with fresh water, boiling until well softened (you should find it yielding when pierced with a toothpick). Drain and put immediately in a bowl with iced water and ½ cup lemon juice. Leave for 2 hours, drain again, and then return the nuts to the saucepan, and stir in the quantity of water and sugar indicated. Leave for around 3 hours until the sugar dissolves, and then boil over high heat for 10 minutes.
The next day, add the cinnamon and cloves and boil for 10 minutes again. Leave for one more day and then boil again until syrup thickens – check by dropping a few drops of syrup in a glass of iced water; it should form drops before dissolving. Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil again.
Then remove from the heat, allow to cool, and pour into cool, sterilised jars.
50 small walnuts (green unripe, with peel on)
5 cups water
1 cup quick lime (or pickling lime)
½ cup lemon juice, + 2½ extra tbsps
1 cinnamon stick