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 eating it soft and pickled, and drink it as liqueur.
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.
This year I am macerating fifty-two 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 a strong and dark choice, the third jar includes black tea, coffee, and vanilla, with thirty walnuts.
The macerating process will take forty-one days, and is to serve in two ways: through the marvelous experience of observation, and subsequently for the gustatory experience.