Shagbark Hickory produces some of the finest tasting nuts around. They have the best taste among our native nuts in our opinion! They don’t get very much attention as a food crop simply because their nuts are hard to crack, and thousands of pounds of this delicacy drops to the ground in the fall often unnoticed. There are several ways of processing to get over this hurdle. You can smash up the shell and nut meats into small pieces and then boil them in water creating one of the heartiest nut milks to sip on. The nuts will also float to the top of the water and the shells will sink. You can also use a hard shelled nut cracker, like the duke nut cracker to crack them out. The trees appearance is nothing short of stately, and their bark can also be used to make a syrup. These trees also produce some of the strongest wood around that is used for bows, axe handles, and furniture. Shagbark needs two trees for pollination, and are slow to bear nuts. They will bear between 10-30 years, producing more nuts as they get older. They prefer moist soil, but are tolerant of most soils if they have adequate nutrients.
Bitternut Hickory is an amazing tree full of possibility. It’s often overlooked because it’s nuts are bitter. However, it is packed full of oil. The bitterness is water soluable and because of the thin shelled nature of the Bitternut, huge amounts of perennial oil can be pressed from them. Acclaimed forager Sam Thayer has developed a market around this Hickory nut oil. We have our own native olive tree, as available and local as can be. May this be a lesson to always delve deeper into the status quo of nature, there are often much greater gifts to be noticed.
|Latin name||Carya sp.|
|Sun Requirements||Full sun-part shade|
|Average year to bear fruit||10-30|
|Soil||prefers moist soils but tolerant of most if there’s adequate nutrition|
|Flower Time||May to June|