04 June 2014

Hickory Nut Harvesting

We were so happy to discover we had some trees that produced food when we moved in.  There are several apple and mulberry trees as well as some hickories.  Last fall, we spent a few hours as a family collecting the hard little nuts and although they're delicious (very similar to a pecan), they're quite difficult to crack and extract the meat.  After watching a survival show where they harvested nuts for food, we figured out the easiest way to enjoy some free food from Mother Nature.  Though they don't come out in whole pieces (the insides of hickory nuts are like a labyrinth), there are plenty of large pieces suitable for baking, salad toppings, snacking, etc.  I feel some of my great grandmother's nut stollen coming on...

What You'll Need:

Hammer, etc (something to break the shell)
Sack or towels (to keep the nuts from flying away when they're struck)
Large bowl
Slotted spoon
Nut pick and nut cracker
Towels for drying
Hickory nuts

1.  Place a handful of hickory nuts in a bag or between a pair of towels.  Crush each individually into medium sized pieces.
2.  Fill the large bowl about half with water.  Dump the shells and nuts in.  Sift through vigorously to separate the shell from the meat.  The shells will sink and the nutmeats will float.
A few shells will float if they're held up by an air bubble or have some nutmeat still stuck inside.
3.  Scoop the nuts off the surface with the slotted spoon.  Place on a towel to dry.
4.  Pour off the excess water and pick out the remaining nuts from the cracked shells.
My helpers.
5.  Repeat steps 1 to 4 a second time to ensure the maximum amount of shell has been removed.

6.  Air dry and store in the freezer until ready to use.
Enjoy!

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