“…días afuera, a sol y serena”

Every June in Spain, many remember the wisdom in traditions of their grandmothers, as they follow their family recipes, by setting spirits and spices in bottles to rest. Those become unique versions of ratafía. And each year I embark in the process of macerating these fruits of nature, I delight in gathering a variety of information on ingredients and processing styles from Spain, France and Italy.

We have 2020 a.D. but have not reached 20/20 vision. This is a principal reason for continuing this investigative gathering of information. There is plenty of room left for improvement, for more clarity — not just for the palate.

Since June 20th, my large jars with green walnuts, spirits and spices, have rested outside ‘all day and all night’. Herewith I am following the subtle advice of earlier generations, thinking that they have acquired an understanding for their decisions. Add some creative playfulness to that, and you get these visual representations. The same led to the short text I posted a few days ago. 


Night is falling
Fact is
Sun plays falling
Day is falling
Night arising

Twenty degrees between high noon
and the nightly wind

A nights deep black is blue
This black is green
And forty days will not macerate green blue
But green is sweeter

Sila Blume / 2020


Day 10

Green Walnuts in Brine


From my batch of green walnuts, I had set seven aside to be put in a brine. Yes, the taste of macerated green walnuts turned to liqueur is a succulent experience. Eating them tender as if they were a special breed of mushroom, is not a lesser joy.

Today, after the first five days in the brine, I replaced the spices and the fluid. Now back in the bottle, all will rest at least another 5-7 days, before bottling the walnuts anew in vinegar for several weeks. This is at least my plan.

I wish I had a walnut tree.


From Medicine to Pleasure

One of my earlier creations. Time to begin a flacon collection, to be filled with the current maceration.

Remembering a couple of syrups and nectars I was forced to take as medicine in my childhood, I must speak of a great divide between medicine and pleasure. Yet, one could otherwise claim that there is no divide at all and precisely for this reason, in the end, medicine transcends into pleasure. This has been the case with tea, coffee, and liqueur…

Towards the end of the thirteenth century, the idea of infusing with herbals to subtract their active ingredients reached European soil. The intention was to heal, for which reason only apothecaries and monasteries were responsible for this new science and only alchemists had access to the needed information. It was with the colonial age that sugar came into the picture and with it new possibilities, so that towards the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the use of liqueurs was pretty much established for their pleasure value, appreciated for their aroma or their effect. Its importance as a remedy diminished in society. Then came coffee, and dozens of firms developed their own coffee liqueur recipes.


Dwelling versus Waiting

If patience means the virtue of waiting in a relaxed state during a given time, being patient names the manner in which we handle said time frame, without necessarily reflecting an appreciation for the qualities and meaning of what is transpiring. It is not even a given that while being relaxed about the waiting, we are paying attention to the moment. Though patient, we might not be in the present but under the influence of the future we await. “Looking forward to…” is not looking hereto. Hence, the moment may remain a future-awaiting moment, a future-burdened one. Patience may even postpone a presence. 

In dwelling, there is being — as long as the dweller is awake, perceptive and attentive, with intent and with interest.

Look here!

Day 2

Human in-dwelling-and-tasting-beING

A variety of trees give us fruits which we eat once nature makes them ripe, ready to fall and be eaten — apples, bananas, figs, and lemons, or roots, seeds, and leaves — all raw, just as nature makes them. That is the natural cycle of nature and a primordial gift to us. Culture, on the other hand, with different sources and goals, based on belief, geography, and customs, helps man decide what to do with nature and its fruits. Then there is the alchemist mind that continues to go beyond boiling water, fermenting, and preserving. The vanilla planifolia orchid comes to mind. Only through the unnatural interception of its growth and the human hand, do we get the incomparable aroma and taste which we recognize as vanilla. And only through intercepting the natural development of the walnut, do we get the privilege of tasting soft and sweet walnuts as a liquor.

Every June, joy, science, and history are revived through one of the oldest and most global of domestic traditions when a specific maceration choice is set in motion throughout Spain, Italy, and France. Families harvest prematurely the fruit of walnut trees of the plant genus Junglans regia Linnaeus. This happens between mid-June and late July. Thereafter, the general harvest begins, and the regular market is supplied with the now ripe walnuts in their common corrugated hard shells, resembling the human brain.

the green walnut

This year I am macerating sixty green walnuts into three jars. A mild interpretation contains seven walnuts, saffron, coffee, and vanilla. Looking for medium-strength I have combined basil and mint leaves, vanilla, and coffee with fifteen walnuts. As strong and dark choice, the third jar includes black tea, coffee, and vanilla, with thirty walnuts. 

Sugar, saffron, and coffee / the mild

The macerating process will take forty-one days, and is to serve in two ways: through the wonder of waiting, and the palate experience.


German Green Walnut moves to Grüner Walnuss

rDear Reader,

June is once more upon us and with it, the time to harvest Walnuts earlier than we could crack them.

This idea will be revived during the next few days and the German version will have its very own place.

Thank you for reading us, and if you prefer the German Language, we cordially and happily invite you to visit the Gruene Walnuss.

Green Walnuts ready to be spirited

Nocino: Night and Day

I am happy to see that my six years of hard science classes, including a year of inorganic chemistry and a year of organic chemistry can be employed practically. A friend asked my if I had bottled my Nocino and I thought- well no not yet. 1) I have the date to bottle on the calendar and no reminders have popped up and 2) last time I shook my bottle, it was still translucent. I mentioned this and got a blank look back. It has been a month! Obviously something was not right. After an initial moment of panic Continue reading “Nocino: Night and Day”