Shagbark Hickory is a beautiful long lived tree, with exfoliating bark. They produce some of the finest tasting nuts around. The nuts are similar to pecans and the trees are very cold hardy. They don’t get very much attention as a food crop simply because their shells are hard to crack, and thousands of pounds of this delicacy drops to the ground in the fall often unnoticed. These trees also produce some of the strongest wood around that is used for bows, axe handles, and furniture. Shagbark Hickory will begin to produce nuts between 10-30 years, producing more as they get older.
They prefer moist soil that drains well, but are tolerant of most soils if they have adequate nutrients. Shagbark Hickories are self fertile but will produce more nuts if there are multiple trees in proximity to one another.
Nut Processing Tips
Shagbark Hickory nuts can be tough to crack, but 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 which creates 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 which makes this process efficient. Use the nuts in any recipe that you use pecans in. Such a treat from a truly amazing native tree that will produce food for hundreds of years.
|Latin name||Carya ovata|
|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|