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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gathering Hickory Nuts

I love hickory nuts!

Until recently, I had not harvested the delicious morsels since I was a child.
They are small, thus it takes a lot to get a lot. Plus,  they are hard to crack just right in order to get them out of the shell. I have never found them in the store for sale. I searched online and found a few places selling them already cracked. They varied in price, but one place sold them for $26 lb. + shipping. Most places were selling the nuts still in the shell.

Our neighbor's tree is full of them this year. He said, "Take all you want."

We're are still  gathering nuts off the ground, and the tree is still loaded.

We took them out of their husk and spread them out on the driveway. You are supposed to let them dry for a while before cracking them. (If you can wait that long)

We have the perfect nut cracker. I just happened to look in our closet in our family room and found  this. One thing about us - we do not throw away much - we figure it might come in handy some day. This was (I'm sure) bought at a yard sale and tucked away and forgot about.

 Just place the nut and lower the handle. 
The shell cracks all around the nut and most times the nut comes out in perfect halves.

Hickory nuts are high in oils and do not keep well at room temperature for more than a couple of weeks. The best way to store them for long term  use is to freeze them.

We've got a quart bag full and ready to go in the freezer, and we have many more waiting to be cracked. Just look at all  those pretty 'butterflies.'

There are still more to gather off the ground. 
When they are this easy to  crack,  we are not going to let any go to waste.
Their taste reminds you of pecans and they can be used in any recipe that calls for pecans.
Or just eat a handful of them.
They're good!

Have you ate hickory nuts before?
Are there any trees in your area?

Posted by Janet Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.


  1. I have got to get a nut cracker like that. I drive all over West Virginia for my job and I have gathered lots of nuts this year. I have grocery bags full of hickory nuts. I have also found a few dozen butternuts. Some of the hickory nuts are a larger variety called a carya laciniosa, wich is about three times the size of the shag bark hickory and tastes just as good if not better. The other day I was driving down the road, and I saw a couple hulling a huge pile of black walnuts. So I stopped a talked for a while. They had a nutcracker like the one you have only it was a little bigger I think. It cracked those black walnuts with ease and left the kernels intact
    Good blog

    1. Hi Scott. Yes, I would recommend getting a nut cracker like that one. I didn't even know we had it until I looked around and found it in my closet. My son tried it out and he couldn't get over how easy it was - and he got perfect halves almost every time! Not many black walnuts have fell in our area yet, usually they start falling like crazy after the first frost. I'm anxious to get black walnuts, too. We love them.

  2. I used to crack a lot of hickories and walnuts as a kid. Good Stuff !

    1. Hi Gorges. You need to start gathering them again.

  3. Hickory nuts used to be the only nuts we had except a few walnuts at Christmas. I haven't eaten any in a long time, but since I have a nut cracker similar to yours, I may just try a few this year. I'd like for my girls to try them. If you read my blog a couple of posts back, you saw how many pecans our tree has this year. I'm checking almost daily to see if they're beginning to fall. I'm guessing it won't be until after frost.

    1. You are so lucky to have a pecan tree on your land! But my hickory nuts will have to do, their taste reminds me of pecans.

  4. Does that bag of nuts every look delish! Nut envy :)

  5. You know we had a hickory nut tree when I was a teenager and every fall when the nuts fell I NEVER thought to save them or eat them? The things we learn with age, I'll have to see if I can find some somewhere;)

  6. Janet -- What a bounty! I don't blame you for not letting any go to waste. Nice that you found that handy dandy nut craker. Last week we made a trip down through Oregon from Washington state where I now live. We stopped and bought some delicious hazel nuts from an orchard. We got about two pounds of nuts, already cracked, and the cost was 10.00! Imagine what you are saving by doing it yourself. -- barbara

    1. Hi Barbara. So glad you stopped by. Yes, I am saving a lot. I've never even found hickory nuts in the store where you can buy them. People don't know what they're missing. I'm eating some in my oats this morning - delicious!


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