Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eating the Trees - Hickory

Rhiannon, Grandma and I went to the local park last week.  While Grandma chased Rhiannon around the jungle gym, I went Hickory nut harvesting!

Basket of Hickory nuts along with what I hope are White Oak acorns.
Our area is full of Black Walnut Oak and Hickory trees.  During the first part of fall, when the Walnut trees start losing their leaves and we've had several consecutive nights of cool weather, a yearly natural migration can be observed.  The seniors come out from the bingo halls and knitting circles in droves, armed with large sacks and walnut-picker-upper-roller-things (I don't know what they are called, sorry) and descend upon the local forest preserves like locusts out of The Old Testament. 

While I applaud anyone for utilizing this free source of wild food (although most of them just sell the walnuts to a traveling walnut-broker-of-sorts), I also feel sorry for them as they walk right over and pass up what I feel is a much more tasty wild nut.

The Hickory nuts fall at the same time and are just as abundant as the Black Walnuts, the husks are easy to come off, they don't stain your hands black for a week, and they are a much sweeter nut in my opinion.  The only problem with them is that they are notoriously difficult to crack.  But then again, so are Black Walnuts. 

I'm at a loss as to why I seem to be the only one bothering with them.   

More nuts for me I guess!

PS- If anyone can suggest a brand of Black Walnut Cracker (or any other piece of equipment other than a vice and ten pound hammer to crack tough/hard nuts) please let me know!  I need one like right now!

PPS - Don't forget to enter my Blog Birthday Giveaway!


  1. Do you use these for baking? That's great that wild nuts are so abundant in your area. There isn't anything like that here (that I know of).

    PS~ Your blog looks great.

  2. Actually, we usually just crack, pick & eat them. We have yet to purchase a "Walnut Crakcer", i.e. a small vice-like nut cracker with the ability to crack even the hardest of nut shells, so it's slow going. Actually, most of the harvest from last year went back into the woods for the squirrels because I just couldn't fathom cracking any more with the hammer or the vice in the garage.

    I'd love to use them in baking if I can get the nut cracker & crack/pick enough (if I don't eat them all by then).

    Thought it was time for an Autumn theme, glad you like it!

  3. Love the spiffy blog design! So Fall-y! I would much rather eat a hickory nut than a black walnut - the only way I've every cracked either is to put them on a tarp in my driveway and drive the car back and forth over them. It's the ultimate in multi-nut cracking for the lazy person!

  4. Susan's idea sounds good! ;)
    Try Googling Duke's nut cracker, we used to sell a lot of them to the seniors for cracking our local HARD shell pecans!

  5. Don't mess with them Seniors! They'll attack you with their "Picker upper rollie" things.

    Love the blog design update too!

  6. I'm with everyone else on your blog look!

    We have pecans, kin to hickory but not so hard to crack. Our almonds though, are really thick shelled. If you find a good nut cracker, let me know!

  7. How cool! I can't find a wild tree that doesn't have a "NO TRESPASSING" sign on it. Enjoy!