Make Your Own Nocino

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:57 am on Monday, August 3, 2015

Nocino is an Italian liqueur made from green walnuts. It’s sweet, nutty, and spicy. You can mix it with a cocktail, drink it straight, or pour it over vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Like most liqueurs, nocino can be pretty pricey. A small bottle (375 ml) starts at about $30. So last summer, I decided to make my own.

To make the nocino, we first needed green walnuts. No problem, there are California walnut trees all over the place. (I assume you could use any green walnut to make this liqueur.)

Last June, I located a walnut tree on public land that was loaded with green walnuts and foraged away. Here’s what I picked, which is approximately 800 times what I needed:

There are lots of recipes for nocino online. They all say to steep green walnuts with a combination of syrup and spices in liquor–either vodka, wine, or a combination of both.

I tried several recipes and found that Imbibe’s recipe was the best. It was also the simplest. You steep the walnuts in vodka for 40 days until the concoction turns the color of motor oil. Then you add syrup, let it sit for 40 more days, and you’re done.

Once finished, I did a taste test. It was pretty great! It lacked the depth of the storebought nocino, but it had all the nutty and sweet notes I was looking for. Best of all, my nocino cost a fraction of the price of the one I bought in the store.

Just how much cheaper is it to make your own nocino? I used a 750 ml bottle of vodka that cost $12 and about $1 in supplies. The green walnuts were foraged and the lemon was free from my garden. All and all, it came to $13 for twice the amount of nocino that you can buy for $30.

That means that a 375 ml bottle of my nocino cost $6.50, where store-bought nocino cost $30. Making my own nocino was 79% cheaper than buying it.

Best of all, it was easy. While making nocino takes 80 days, it only takes a few minutes of work. Here’s how to do it.

Make Your Own Nocino
(This recipe is from Imbibe Magazine)

Ingredients:

    16 green walnuts, quartered
    Zest of 1 lemon
    750 ml bottle of vodka
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    1 cinnamon stick

Equipment:
    Glass jar
    Saucepan
    Strainer
    Cheese cloth
    Glass bottle
    Gloves

Directions:

In June-August, pick green walnuts from a tree. If that doesn’t work for you, you can purchase them online.

Quarter the green walnuts. Use gloves because the walnuts can stain.

Put the green walnuts and lemon zest in the glass jar. Add the vodka. Cover the jar.

Now it looks like this:

(I didn’t have a lid for my flask, so I used a cheese cloth and a rubber band to cover it.)

Put the jar in a dark place and let the liquid steep for 40 days.

After that time, the liqueur will be dark brown, but will taste abrasive. It’s time to add the syrup.

In the pan, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Turn on the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool. Throw out the cinnamon stick.

Strain the spent walnuts out of the liqueur. Add the syrup. Cover and let sit for another 40 days.

At the end of that time, strain the liqueur through a cheese cloth to get out the bits of walnut and cinnamon. Pour into a glass bottle.

Ta-da! You’ve got yourself a delicious, versatile liqueur. It makes a great gift, too.

Steampunk Octopus Door Handle

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:19 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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This Steampunk Octopus Door Handle is so cool. $110. From the site:

My octopus door handles are 100% home made in Paris, France. I made the mold for these when I needed door handles for my boat. But a lot of people liked it, and this is why I decided to bring a small batch of this item to you.

They are made in resin with a charge of brass powder (100g resin, 100g brass). They are brushed, with a hand made patina, and demanded a lot of work for a nice result.

Three Awesome Plum Cocktails

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:36 am on Friday, July 24, 2015

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail: Grilled plums, bourbon, and honey liqueur.

Plum Margarita: Frozen plums, silver tequila, and don’t forget the blender.

Plum Smash: Plum, whiskey, and a little bit of thyme.

Reducing Food Waste Round-Up

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Thursday, July 23, 2015

I’ve talked about reducing food waste quite a bit on this blog, but it looks like the issue is getting worse. A new study says that Americans waste 40%–almost half!–of their food, according to the Natural Resources Defence Council. An average family of four wastes $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month.

Even though my food waste isn’t anywhere near half of my food bill, this is an issue everyone can do better on. I’m already doing better, too. Instead of tossing some old pears today, I put them in the food dehydrator and am making dried pears instead. However, there was no saving that 1/3 of a watermelon that had mold on it. Into the compost it went!

Here are some posts on reducing food waste:

How to Reduce Food Waste

Using Up Commonly Wasted Foods

Fridge Eat Me First Box

10 Things To Do With Overripe Fruit

100 Things To Do With Lemons

5 Things To Do With Stale Bread

What To Do With Milk and Cream

How To Freeze Tomatoes

Use It Up

Use It Up II

Make Yourself A Refreshing Plum Margarita

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:42 am on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

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DIY Cocktails and I tried out plum margaritas, and you know? They’re awesome. Cold and refreshing and so easy to make. We used frozen plums, so we didn’t even have to add any ice.

Plum Margarita

(Makes one margarita)

Ingredients:

    Three plums, halved, the pits removed, and frozen
    2 ounces silver tequila
    1 ounce triple sec
    1/4 ounce lemon juice
    1/4 ounce simple syrup

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until it looks like a margarita. Pour into a cocktail glass. Enjoy!

Product Review: Ted Baker Canoe Hip Flask

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:22 am on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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I don’t know why, but there’s something fun about drinking bourbon out of a flask. So I was pleased to be able to try out this Ted Baker Canoe Hip Flask from Flamingo Gifts.

I waited until our recent trip to the coast to try it out. We rented a cabin overlooking the water. One the second night, we took out the flask and tried it.

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This is a nice flask. Sometimes when you use a flask, all you can taste is the cold metal from the lid. But this one isn’t like that.

It has a good-quality screw top too.

It matched the environment of banjo playing, card games, and sunsets by the ocean perfectly.

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DIY Cardboard Playhouses

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:21 am on Monday, July 20, 2015

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More fun with cardboard boxes.

This time, check out these DIY Cardboard Playhouses. I love the addition of shingles and wallpaper (or wrapping paper) for color.

What To Do With Broken Jewelry: Make Gemstone Bobby Pins

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 11:10 am on Friday, July 17, 2015

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If you find yourself with broken jewelry, here’s a great what to recycle them: Turn them into Gemstone Bobby Pins.

This project is pretty simple. Take the necklace apart, arrange the “gemstones,” and glue onto the bobby pins.

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Waste not, want not.

Save Money Update: Fossil Purse and JLab Headphones

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:20 am on Thursday, July 16, 2015

Making companies replace things that malfunction feels like a full-time job around here. I’ll kept it up, though.

As you remember, my new year’s resolution was to
Save Money By Contacting Companies When Things Break.

So far this year, I’ve had a frame replaced by Michaels and a temperature probe replaced Taylor Digital.

Now I’m working on a few new products that fell apart on me. Here’s the low-down.

1. JLab Pink Headphones

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My husband got these for me for Christmas. In less than four months, one ear stopped working and the foam fell off the other ear. Great. Another piece of junk.

I emailed Jlab and they said I could return the headphones and they would give me a new pair.

The only catch was that I had to mail the broken headphones to them, which meant putting the headphones in an envelope, going to the post office, and paying $4 in postage. Pain in the butt! I’m waiting for them to get back to me.

2. Fossil Purse

I bought this purse in January. I was so happy to find one I liked that I spent $100 on it, thinking that it was an investment for something I would have with me a lot. But then last month, vinyl on the purse started peeling away around the top. Look at this:

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This isn’t normal wear and tear, but poor construction. It had been six months since purchasing the purse, but something that you pay $100 ought to last more than half a year. So I contacted the company and told them about the problem.

We’ll see what happens.

It’s frustrating that things fall apart so quickly. No one seems to care about quality these days. Well, I do.

Oliver The Elephant Snack Bowl

Filed under: Pretty/Cool — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:35 am on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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So cute: Oliver The Elephant Snack Bowl. $20.99

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