We have so many hickory trees on our property we’re seriously considering cutting some down to use for lumber.
However, we also really love that we get a ton of nuts without really having to do anything but gather them. So, that’s what we have been up to.
The trees are all well established and as far as we can tell, fairly healthy. Many people only collect and use the nuts from the shagbark hickory. We don’t have that particular variety, but the nuts are still very sweet, and taste like a combination of a walnut and a pecan.
The issues with hickory nuts are weevils, which we’ve been working to eliminate. The chickens help with that in that they eat the weevil larva. We’ve also been gathering and burning nuts and husks from previous years.
This year’s harvest has been MASSIVE compared to last year. I’m told hickory trees have on and off years, so this must be an “on” year.
The heavy winds and rains have done wonders for knocking the ripe nuts onto the ground for us to gather by the cart load. This morning we removed the husks from the nuts we had gathered and did a float test. We’ve had a really high volume of good nuts which is fantastic.
As far as using the nuts we harvest, there are so many things to do with them I could do a separate post for each. For now, we’re focusing on the storage.
I have a whole bunch of these reusable mesh bags that we’ll be able to hang the nuts in and they’ll keep like that for between 3-5 years (not that we won’t eat them before that point, but longevity is good.)
We’re saving the nut husks for grilling and smoking meats, and the shells and nut debris can be used in making hickory nut brew, which is absolutely delicious.
Now comes the challenge of finding an efficient and suitable nut cracker!