Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Offering competition to the squirrels

We have several Shagbark Hickory trees on our property, one of which branches out right over our house.  Come fall, its abundant supply of nuts bombs our rooftop when it's windy, when it rains, when the squirrels decide they want a snack...

This year, after trying some hickory nuts at our friend Brian's house, we decided to make nice with the tree that bombs our house and harvest some of those nuts.

So far we've collected about 3 lbs. 4 oz. of nuts in their shell.  Our first harvest, about 10 oz. of nuts in the shell, yielded about 2.5 oz. nut meat.

The process of getting to the meat is tedious. It involves a hammer and some kind of pick-like tool.
One thing I have decided after cracking many a nut with a hammer is that I don't really want to provoke a squirrel or chipmunk to bite me. If they can do with their teeth what we need a hammer and a pick to do, well... those are some bad-*** teeth!
Squirrel's dining table

Thankfully, the end result of all this trouble is a delicious-tasting nut. The taste, to me, is reminiscent of maple, and butter pecan ice cream. (I have learned that pecans and hickory nuts are related, but the hickory nuts taste nothing like pecans to my tongue.)

They are good for eating out of hand, and are tasty on top of some vanilla frozen yogurt, but what recipes will make the best use of their deliciousness? I surely intend to find out!


Anonymous said...

There's some shell in the meat bin!

Heather said...

Wow, good eye! That's been buried by now, baby.

RuthieJ said...

I'm always amazed at how a squirrel is able to open those nut shells with their teeth too.

P.S. Go to Cooks.com and do a search on "hickory nut" and you will find cookies, cakes, pies, bread and even 1 soup recipe! Then give us a report on what you liked the best. :-)