Can you eat Hickory nuts?

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Idek912, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Idek912

    Idek912 Tracker

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    I have a huge hickory tree that got knocked over in hurricane Irene.... now I am wondering, can you eat Hickory nuts?
     
  2. tennecedar

    tennecedar Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    Oh Yeah!:D

    Best when the nut hits the ground on it's own. I will tell ya the work is worth it. A dental pick helps get them out. I love it when the wife makes zucchini bread with them.
     
  3. benajah

    benajah Scout

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    You are honestly asking if you can eat hickory nuts when you live in a place where they grow?
    Best food God ever made, after pecans (whack is a type of hickory).
    Crush the nuts, shell and all. Dump the bunch in a bucket of water. Shells sink, nuts float ( or the other way around, I've been in the army or lived in California too long, can't remember) but that's an easy way to get them separate them.
    I lived on hickory nuts and rabbits growing up. We weren't so poor thats all we had to eat but we ate a lot of it and it's all I liked as a kid, plus Bruusels sprouts and broccoli.
     
  4. Idek912

    Idek912 Tracker

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    So let me get this right, you get that green smelly fruit thing off of the tree that looks like a crab apple, bust it open and eat the nut in the middle? What does it taste like?
     
  5. tennecedar

    tennecedar Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    They are probably still too green right now. When hickory nuts are ready the outer hull will split open revealing the nut. They have a distinctive smell in the outer hull. The inside nut is alot like a pecan but it has it's own flavor.
     
  6. Sawdust and Splinters

    Sawdust and Splinters Scout Bushclass I

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    Been eatin them for years.
     
  7. nothinghead

    nothinghead Guide Bushclass I

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    I just found one yesterday on a hike. Lots of black walnuts too. I'll have to give it a try.
     
  8. edibleplantguy

    edibleplantguy Scout

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    Greetings All,

    It's true that the genus of hickories, Carya, include some really incredible edible nuts. And as benajah mentions, the pecan is a hickory, Carya illinoisnensis. However, not all hickories produce nuts one would eat.

    You know when you are shelling your own pecans, how the nut meat has two ridges that run down the exterior surfaces of the nut-halves? And how these furrows are filled with a reddish-brown dry pulp that if you mistakenly eat some of, is fantastically astringent and bitter. If your hickory is one of the species that go by the common names of bitternut, or pignut hickory, the nuts will taste like this disagreeable pulp from a pecan throughout, ergo their disagreeable names.

    As tennecedar correctly states, ripe hickories, whether pecan or other, will have their husks turn brown and split spontaneously along the four seams (these seams distinguish the hickory nuts from the walnut/butternut group, genus Juglans that have no seams) and reveal the ripe nut. If your nuts of an edible species and are very immature, that is still green throughout, if they are young enough, immature hickory nuts were formerly (colonial times) made into pickles (stacked in spiced brine, with layers separated by a layer of hickory leaves) but that only works if the nuts are so young that they have not developed the trademark hard shells.

    Thanks for reading.

    edibleplantguy
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  9. R_W

    R_W Guide

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    But at least now you have enough wood to run the smoker for a while...
     
  10. Flintlock

    Flintlock Guide

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    Shagbark nuts are delicious. Smooth bark ( or pignut ) are really bitter. Which kind of tree do you have?
     
  11. zammer

    zammer Guide

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    Can you show us a pic of the tree?
     
  12. quidditchfan

    quidditchfan Scout

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    Do not eat the Pignut hickory had 2 of those in the front yard as a kid made the mistake of eating one nasty nasty nasty.
     
  13. Dux

    Dux Banned Member Banned

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    Did the tree die before the nuts had the chance to ripen?
     
  14. Idek912

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    Like I said it fell down, and my step dad just cut it up today with a chainsaw and threw it over the fence to tow it off to the dump, so all it is now is a pile of logs which will be some firewood, but there is probably 100 of these things on the ground... I could show you a piece of the tree, bark, and the plant that comes off with the nut inside.
     
  15. Idek912

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    They are very green and some have brown or black spots.
     
  16. Idek912

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    I'm not completely sure but it is a rough bark.
     
  17. Flintlock

    Flintlock Guide

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  18. Marsh

    Marsh Guide

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    Hey guys.. is this wood carvable? I dont know of this woods carvability..but hey.. lots of bowls or kuksas from this wood or no?

    If its carvable.. dont throw it all. Advertise to those who do lathe work..they will come get it.

    Marsh.
     
  19. woodsmith

    woodsmith Guide

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    Some good info on hickory nuts:

    http://www.burntmud.com/Burntmud/Hickory_Nuts.html

    (including making broth from them)

    The wood is very tough - if you can grab some straight sections of the trunk and split them down. Hickory is THE traditional wood for tool handles, so if you ever want to make your own axe/hatchet handle...this is your chance!

    It's hard to work once it's dry, so it's best to split/saw it while green, then let it season. I'm not sure how well it would work as a carving wood. Self-bows are often made of hickory as well.

    Sounds like the nuts are too green to eat. You can crush them and extract the tannin for tanning, but that's an involved process and I'm not sure of the steps.
     
  20. Big Otis

    Big Otis Tracker

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    Can't believe everyone missed the obvious answer:
    Yes, you can't eat hickory nuts, BUT only if you get to them before the squirrels.
    I have two trees at my place, and in 13 years, only managed to beat the squirrels once.
     
  21. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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  22. whiskersnitch

    whiskersnitch Guest

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    One of my fondest memories of my grandmother (on my father's side) was her hickory nut cake. Wish I had the recipe... Man, was that good.
     
  23. hootyhoo

    hootyhoo Scout

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    Sorry you lost the tree.
     
  24. Idek912

    Idek912 Tracker

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    I tried carving it out with a knife and hickory is a very tough hardwood. I couldn't do it.
     
  25. vermillion8604

    vermillion8604 Guide

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    Better have a laser to carve hickory lol. It's very hard to work with where carving is concerned.
     
  26. whitewater4x4

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    Took my oldest son out on a trailride / geocaching run a few years back . Came across an area loaded with hickory trees . We looked around and found some of the largest hickory nuts I've ever seen . They were almost as big as a mid size walnut . Got to talking with the boy and he didn't know you could eat them. I broke one open and let him try it . He promptly loaded up a grocery bag full and spent the rest of the day picking out hickory meat.
     
  27. fire65

    fire65 Supporter Supporter

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    Living in OK, not sure if I would know a hickory nut. I would think most nuts are edible. Some have to be boiled first.
     
  28. edibleplantguy

    edibleplantguy Scout

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    Greetings All,

    I am interested in your, fire65, statement, "I would think most nuts are edible. Some have to be boiled first."

    I am confident that mathematically speaking, you are correct about the first part of the quote, that most nuts are edible. The problem would be in taking that as a kind of permission to eat unknown nuts. Unfortunately, some of our most common nut bearing trees are in the horse chestnut group. These attractive shiny ~1 inch diameter nuts are poisonous due to their sapotoxins. There have not been any human fatalities for many years due to ingested buckeyes or horse chestnuts; but who would want to mistakenly get anyone, much less a loved one, into that kind of situation {especially in a survival context}.

    Unfortunately, if that assumption were carried into the greater world (outside North America) there is a much higher probability of finding many species (especially in the tropics--depends on where your plane crashes) of nuts several of which have really virulent toxins that do have more recent fatalities. [Physic Nut, Jatropha curcas Linnaeus, for example].

    So, my long-winded counsel comes to, its better not to use general rules for edible plants because of the size and frequency of the exceptions to those rules.

    On the second matter, nuts needing to be boiled to be edible; would you consider sharing your source and info, as I don't know anything about nuts that need boiling to be safe. Thank you in advance for that.

    Thank you very much for reading.

    edibleplantguy
     

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