This month, a young hickory tree on top of the hill has begun gifting us with its first hickory nuts. They plop onto the ground like tennis balls and conveniently roll themselves to our garage door, to be claimed by kids, squirrels and chipmunks; it’s a race!
Hickory nuts have a pleasant taste and contain beneficial oils, nutrients and antioxidants. It’s fairly easy to crack them with a rock, mallet or hammer, after removing the hulls. That said, It is good to let them dry for a few days before cracking. The nut meat can be stored in a fridge for a few weeks and used for snacks, holiday baking or even making nut milk.
The Native People knew how to extract and ingest hickory oil to relieve stomach issues, and added pulverized nuts and shells to thicken venison broth. Fermented hickory mash was also used to produce a fermented and intoxicating drink called Powcohiccora.