Make Your Own Nocino

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:57 am on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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 store-bought 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.

Make Your Own Bubble Soap

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:39 am on Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is it cheaper to make your own bubble soap? I’m not sure, but for what it’s worth, this recipe seems to work, especially for giant bubbles.

Impressive looking. I may try this recipe sometime soon.

5 Ways To Eat Watermelon

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Monday, June 30, 2014

To me, nothing says summer more than watermelon. And with Independence Day just around the corner, here are 5 Ways To Eat Watermelon:

Cut Shapes out of the watermelon with cookie cutters or a knife and put them on a stick.

Mix it into a Watermelon Mojito.

Cut it up with feta cheese and kiwi and make a salad that looks like a Rubik’s Cube.

Make Watermelon Ice (a good way to use up an older melon).

Or, turn the watermelon into a keg.

Interactive Online Map For Food Foraging

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:53 am on Friday, June 27, 2014


[Gradling]

I’ve talked about foraging on here before. I regularly pick blackberries, walnuts, mustard, mushrooms, bay leaves, and fennel from the land around me.

So I was pleased to learn about this Interactive Online Map that tells you where you can forage for food in your area. You can see where the food is growing, whether it’s tasty, and when to pick it. There’s even a street view that lets you see exactly where to look.

Most importantly, the food is either on public land or overhanging on public land. (Always make sure you’re foraging, not stealing.)

I plugged in my zip code and discovered two apple trees and a plum tree on public land in my town that I didn’t know about. There’s a nearby pear tree too.

Check Out This $1 Mansion

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:37 am on Thursday, June 26, 2014

This historic mansion in Memphis sold for $1.

The owners, Jose and Jennifer Velázquez, put in $2.1 million of renovations, and look at it now.

Bedroom before:

Bedroom after:

Bathroom before:

Bathroom after:

The mansion is now a bed and breakfast. Rooms are $245 a night.

There are so many gorgeous historic buildings in America that can be purchased dirt cheap. I don’t understand why more people don’t do this.

Check Out More Pictures Of The House Here.

Cinderella Apron

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:35 am on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Do you like to complain that when it comes to household chores, you are the Cinderella of the family? Well now you can double that message by making your very own Cinderella apron.

This is a pretty effective strategy to get your family to help out more around the house, if you ask me. First make the apron, then walk around singing this song.

The rest of the family will pitch in in no time.

Make A Reading Lamp Out Of A Water Jug

Filed under: Recycling — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:30 am on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am very curious to see if this works.

Supposedly, if you slap a headlight onto a jug of water, it illuminates the water and makes a reading lamp/lantern for your tent when you’re camping.

Seems plausible. Has anyone tried this?

10 Summer Squash Recipes

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Monday, June 23, 2014

My squash plants are already producing plenty of young pattypan squash and zucchini. Time to use them up! Here are some summer squash recipes I’m considering.


ZUCCHINI QUESADILLAS

Cheese, zucchini, and corn in a tortilla. How can this be bad? I might try adding some pesto too.

SUMMER GRILLED VEGETABLE PIZZA

Homemade pizza with grilled veggies and fresh mozzarella. I can’t believe we haven’t done this yet.

PATTYPAN SQUASH WITH EGGS

A new way to use squash in breakfast.

OVERSTUFFED PATTYPAN SQUASH

Pattypan squash just seems designed for stuffing. Here’s Alton Brown’s version.

LIGHT CHICKEN AND SQUASH LASAGNA

A healthier twist on lasagna. I have to admit, I would probably add more cheese.

SQUASH TART

Another good one from Martha Stewart. This recipe uses zucchini, but any summer squash would work.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

These muffins are a hit every time I make them.

EASY ZUCCHINI PICKLES

I discovered these quick zucchini pickles last year. Highly recommended.

SWEET CORN AND SQUASH SOUP

I love the idea of this, but I would probably use broth and milk instead of water in the soup base.

ZUCCHINI PIZZA SLICES

I’m so curious about this recipe. It looks like it could be really tasty.

Pattypan Squash With Eggs

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Friday, June 20, 2014

Here’s a great breakfast idea from Sunset Magazine: Pattypan Squash with Eggs.

You hollow out the inside of the squash, bake, then put in the egg, and bake again until the eggs set.

Since I am growing pattypan squash this year and I have chickens, you can be I’ll be trying this recipe out.

It’s almost as interesting as Baked Eggs In Avocado.

Make Your Own Sealed Sandwiches

Filed under: DIY — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:22 am on Thursday, June 19, 2014

In general, sealed sandwiches aren’t the kind of thing I would spend money on, but I can see one exception: road trips. They would be a good way to feed a kid a healthy, frugal lunch without getting a mess all over the car.

And with a little gadget, you can make sealed sandwiches yourself. Unsophisticook explains how.

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