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Old August 17, 2017   #1
adewilliams
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Default Hickory Nuts

I have a huge Hickory tree in my backyard that has now started dropping nuts. Last year, I was late to the game, but was able to save some nuts and they were delicious! This year, I'm getting in on this earlier and racing against the squirrels. Does anyone have any advice on harvesting or using hickory nuts? I've got a lot of them with the green husk on. Is there a faster way to dry them out? I was thinking of throwing them in the oven or on the grill.
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Old August 17, 2017   #2
Ken4230
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Default Time and Distance

As my grandfather used to say, put them up and leave them alone. Let them dry on their own. Once the hulls start splitting, pry off what you can and then wait some more.

We have a farm in the river bottoms with a small 20 acre woods on it. At one time it had dozens of 30 inch hickories with nuts bigger than silver dollars. My job was to collect the nuts and the squirrels. I got good at both jobs.

To me, they make a better "pecan" pie than pecans do. They have a stronger, more earthy taste. It's a lot more work getting the meat out than pecans are, but worth it to me. A pick is pretty much required, they used to be sold just for hickory nuts.
River bottom nuts need to be turned up on their side and cracked that way.

Ken
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Old August 17, 2017   #3
adewilliams
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Thanks for the advice, Ken! I will admit that I've already dried some on the grill. We'll see how they turn out. Otherwise, I will listen to your grandfather and let them alone.

I'm really excited to give these things a try! I have my eye on a cake recipe that I can't wait to try out.
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Old August 17, 2017   #4
NewWestGardener
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I've never seen a hickory nut. By googling, they reminded me of how we dealt with hazelnuts.
As a child I used to help my mother going out into the woods and picked 100s of lbs of hazelnuts. They had green fuzzy hulls.
We spread them on a paved section in the yard to let them dry out under the sun. Once the hulls turn brown and shrank, we used a long stick (twice as thick as a handle of a shovel, and longer) to pound them. The nuts will fall out of the hulls that way. Much quicker than peel them individually.

This is also how we deshell dry beans, with a lighter treatment.

Just an idea, it may or may not be suitable for your harvest. And good luck!
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Old August 17, 2017   #5
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I read a recipe in a book that wasn't a recipe book that had a recipe for some sort of Indian hickory nut drink.
I have the book but I have no idea what book it is in.
The person said it was to die for.
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Old August 17, 2017   #6
SteveP
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There are lots of hickory trees around here, but have never heard of anyone eating them. Now black walnuts are plentiful too and those are excellent eating, but are a tough nut to crack. The squirrels love both.
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Old August 17, 2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveP View Post
There are lots of hickory trees around here, but have never heard of anyone eating them. Now black walnuts are plentiful too and those are excellent eating, but are a tough nut to crack.
You dont eat the tree you eat the nuts.

Worth
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Old August 17, 2017   #8
SteveP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
You dont eat the tree you eat the nuts.

Worth
Lol, I am no Euell Gibbons.
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Old August 17, 2017   #9
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We used to crack and eat them in the woods with rocks like cave kids.
Best nut ever.

Worth
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Old August 18, 2017   #10
adewilliams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWestGardener View Post
I've never seen a hickory nut. By googling, they reminded me of how we dealt with hazelnuts.
As a child I used to help my mother going out into the woods and picked 100s of lbs of hazelnuts. They had green fuzzy hulls.
We spread them on a paved section in the yard to let them dry out under the sun. Once the hulls turn brown and shrank, we used a long stick (twice as thick as a handle of a shovel, and longer) to pound them. The nuts will fall out of the hulls that way. Much quicker than peel them individually.

This is also how we deshell dry beans, with a lighter treatment.

Just an idea, it may or may not be suitable for your harvest. And good luck!
Well, I'd never seen a hazelnut before, Steve. Their husks are quite something! Thanks for the tip on removing them. The husk on a hickory nut peels off very cleanly when dry. You should definitely try them if you can.
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Old August 18, 2017   #11
adewilliams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
I read a recipe in a book that wasn't a recipe book that had a recipe for some sort of Indian hickory nut drink.
I have the book but I have no idea what book it is in.
The person said it was to die for.
Worth, I found a hickory nut drink recipe: https://www.tyrantfarms.com/recipe-h...-nut-ambrosia/

You think this is it? Sounds like it would be fun to try!
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Old August 18, 2017   #12
adewilliams
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SteveP, I agree with Worth, they are a phenomenal nut to eat. If you have the nuts, do it. The hardest part for me will be finding someone to crack them, but they're worth it!
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Old August 18, 2017   #13
SteveP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adewilliams View Post
SteveP, I agree with Worth, they are a phenomenal nut to eat. If you have the nuts, do it. The hardest part for me will be finding someone to crack them, but they're worth it!
I will see if I can find some this fall and give them a try. I am really surprised to hear they taste so good and I haven't ever known anyone that eats them.
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Old August 18, 2017   #14
Worth1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adewilliams View Post
Worth, I found a hickory nut drink recipe: https://www.tyrantfarms.com/recipe-h...-nut-ambrosia/

You think this is it? Sounds like it would be fun to try!
That might be it.
seems the guy that did it was a back woods man or something.
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Old August 19, 2017   #15
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They are awesome. We had a hickory nut tree in thebackyard when i was a kid. Mom would gather them after they fell in an old sheet. The ones that already had dried and the husks were split we would crack and pick the nuts out. Any that were still too green would stay in the sheet hung up in the garage until the husks had dried and split. She stored them in the freezer and used in place of walnuts.
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