Several years ago, my dearly beloved was having major stomach issues. Our first thought was lactose intolerance, but eliminating dairy had absolutely no effect on him. We tried cutting out other foods that could be the problem but nothing worked. The problem became worse and worse, to the point he was afraid to eat or drink anything. He finally went to the doctor and, of course, they prescribed a medicine to deal with the symptoms. He stayed on this medicine for 5-6 years but grew very tired of treating symptoms for a problem that was still undiagnosed.
One evening, we were at a friend’s house for dinner and they were discussing his stomach problems. She gave him a shot glass of an Italian liquer called Nocino. Okay, so I am trying to make this sound fancy. Most people would call this a tincture. Whatever you call it, it was a miracle drug for him and the best part? It is made with simple ingredients and doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives that no one can pronounce!
This is a picture of what is left from last year’s production. I love the cloth this is on. My mom did the embroidery on this piece many, many years ago. It holds many wonderful memories for me.
Back to the recipe…. This is not a quick process. From start to finish takes about 6 months. However, it is very easy to make and is well worth the time and effort. From what I’ve read, many Italians drink a small amount each night after dinner as an apertif and digestive aid. I’m not that brave!
24-30 green walnuts, (picked and prepared on June 24 according to Italian tradition*)
zest of 2 large lemons
10 whole cloves
1 litre pure grain alcohol (I used Everclear)
For the simple syrup:
5.5 oz water
1.1 pound sugar
* This is the recipe from the monks of Nonantola, near Modena, in Italy. Traditionally made on 24 June, the feast of St. John, or earlier if there is an earlier spring…or near this date 🙂 You need to make this the day that you pick the walnuts. You will need a cleaver of sorts to chop the nuts as they are rock hard! Do not get any of the juice on you or your clothes or they will be permanently stained. (From my friend, Rhona)
Cut the walnuts in half and place into a gallon sized jar. Zest the lemons and add to the jar along with the cloves and any other spices you wish to add. This year I used star of anise, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. You may add whatever you like.
Pour the alcohol over the walnuts and place the cap on. Let this sit in the sun for 50 days, shaking gently each day.
This is day 20 into the process.
On day 50, strain the liquer into a large container. Make a simple syrup from the ingredients above. When it has cooled to room temperature, add it to the walnut liquer and bottle.
This should be aged in a cool, dark place until December before drinking. The longer it sits, the more mellow it becomes. The “ideal” time for aging is 10 years!! Ours would never last that long.
I have no idea how this helped my beloved’s stomach problems, and I am NOT suggesting you use this for your health problems. Always consult a medical doctor for any conditions you may have. But, after researching this I found that one of the benefits was that it destroyed parasites in your body. Whether this was his problem I do not know. But when his stomach begins bothering him, he can take a couple of tablespoons each day for a week or two and his problems go away.