These nuts are in the best state for pickling when the shell is soft, and when they are so young that the outer skin can be penetrated by the head of a pin. They should be gathered when the sun is hot upon them.
If you have a large quantity, the easiest way to prepare them for pickling is to put them into a tub with sufficient lye to cover them, and to stir and rub them about with a hickory broom till they are clean and smooth on the outside. This is much less trouble than scraping them, and is not so likely to injure the nuts. Another method is to scald them, and then to rub off the outer skin. Put the nuts into strong salt and water for one week; changing the water every other day, and keeping them closely covered from the air. Then drain and wipe them, (piercing each nut through in several places with a large needle,) and prepare the pickle as follows: - For a hundred large nuts, take of black pepper and ginger root of each an ounce; and of cloves, mace and nutmeg of each a half ounce. Pound all the spices to powder, and mix them well together, adding two large spoonfuls of mustard seed. Put the nuts into jars, (having first stuck each of them through in several places with a large needle,) strewing the powdered seasoning between every layer of nuts. Boil for five minutes a gallon of the very best cider vinegar, and pour it boiling hot upon the nuts. Secure the jars closely with corks and leathers. You may begin to eat the nuts in a fortnight.
Walnuts may be pickled in the same manner.