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Hickory nuts edible?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by 188560, May 14, 2009.

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  1. 188560

    188560 New Member

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    I've got a couple of shagbark hickory trees on my lot. I was wondering if the nuts are edible. If so, how do you prepare them to eat. Any suggestions?

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  2. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

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    I don't know, better ask a squirrel.

    I've eaten the nuts from Shagbark Hickory and I had a recipe for squirrel stew that called for hickory nuts or walnuts if none were available. As a kid I broke open the nuts and ate them. They were ok from what I remember. Not as tasty as walnuts but would work well in a recipe I believe.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Just crack the nuts, dig out the meat and eat. They are delicious. You can also use them in recipes that normally call for walnuts. They are delicious in fudge too!

    In the fall when the nuts start falling, before you rake up the nuts and start gathering big time, crack open 4 or 5 nuts. You may find them full of meat or you may find them empty. If they are empty, there is no sense in gathering any of them because chances are that more than 90% of them are bad. Usually though, they are good.

    Look in some old catalogs for some nut picks. (Lehmann's may have them but not sure.) You can do a search. When I was young (before tv) we used to crack the nuts and dig out meats in December to be sure we had some real goodies for Christmas. Fortunately there were 4 of us kids because it takes a long time to get much....but was well worth it.
  5. 188560

    188560 New Member

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    Thanks guys. I knew there would be some old-timers that could enlighten me. I liked the Grape Nuts commercial. Anyone ever eat a cattail? Is it high in fiber? When I was a kid I always wondered why corn dogs grew in ponds.
  6. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    :lol: Ewell was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the thread title. I remember our ongoing joking back then about stuff like, "I'm Ewell Gibbons, and I'm here to tell you that many parts of your car are edible." I do like Grape Nuts, though. And yes, Hickory nuts are delicious...although they're a real pain in the foot to step on without shoes. Rick
  7. Larix

    Larix Member

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    My Trees of Ohio field guide says shellbark, shagbark, mockernut and pignut all have edible fruit. The bitternut is not recommended due to the origins of its name and won't even be consumed by hungry wildlife.
  8. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I dont exactly know why, but an old timer I worked with in the Midwest 25 years ago insisted that hickory nuts should be put in shallow pan and stored up in the attic for several months (making sure to cover them iwith screen n case sqirrels and other critters could get at them. I didnt experiment but the nut meats were easier to take out of the shell, so it may be that as the nuts dry out, they pull loose of the shell?

    I will take hickory nuts over beech nuts anytime, talk about little reward for a lot of work !
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    peakbagger, that is very correct. They need to be stored for a while before trying to get the meat out. When you crack them right after they fall the meat will be quite soft but it will harden after a time.

    Another and perhaps better way to store them is in onion bags and hang them in a dry place. That might even be next to a wood stove which can be very dry indeed.
  10. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I like Hickory nuts better than Black Walnuts. Hickory nuts have a sort of maple taste to them. The main problem I have with hickory nuts is that it takes a lot of picking to get much meat.
  11. leftyscott

    leftyscott Member

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    Ewell Gibbons used to live very close to where I spent lots of time in summer when I was a kid. Very remote area of Snyder Co. Pennsylvania. We had him autograph some books. I seem to recall he was rather fond of booze. Quite a character, though.
  12. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Hard to get into, but we eat them very regularly here, have lots of hickory on the property.
  13. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Shagbark Hickory nuts are unbelievably good. I second the comment that they have a slight maple syrup flavor to them. They can be a lot of work to get out of the tough outer shell. You need a specialized nutcracker - hickory nuts shells will break regular "english walnut" nut crackers, so don't even bother with them. The kind of nutcracker you will need will have a lever to apply force to a small wedge that will open the shell. Then, you'll need a nut pick to get the meat out - they won't pop out like English Walnuts. They are work, but well worth it. If you have kids, enlist them to help you, but don't expect a lot of nutmeats when you are done as they will eat them along the way.

    Shagbark Hickory nuts are fantastic in chocolate chip cookies.

    Pignut and Mockernut Hickory nuts are not worth the trouble - too small.
    Bitternut Hickory nuts taste like they have an enormous level of quinine in them they will pucker your mouth up like nothing else.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Shouldn't the nuts be roasted or is that just for chestnuts?
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    No need to roast these tasty things. Just allow them to dry for a bit. Wait for Christmas to roast your chestnuts LLigetfa. lol
  16. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, BB, although i was hoping it would be the pine tree one. But it reminds me why I hate YouTube. You go to watch one video and 20+ minutes later you have to drag yourself away from the computer.
  17. Birdman1

    Birdman1 New Member

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    we used to go every fall to the farm we bought hay from and pick bags full
    real good eatin , can be roasted in the oven but we never did
  18. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    don't eat the worm

    they often have a perfect hole in the shell, about the size of a 1/16 or smaller drill bit, where the little bugger enters :)
  19. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    +1. I am continually amazed at what little isn't on Youtube.
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