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Thread: Are These Hickory Nuts Ripe/Unripe

  1. #1

    Default Are These Hickory Nuts Ripe/Unripe

    So there's a Hickory tree, and nuts are just falling out of it, left and right, about 1 every few seconds or so. All the nuts are, naturally, still in their husks. I look up and see a couple squirrels in the tree, and look down to see that the husks are mostly a marbled green/brown in coloration. I stomp on a few to de-husk them and get the nut out. I know mid-August is kinda early for Hickories to be ripe, but they were falling out of the tree in such large numbers, and the husks were turning brown and splitting, they just seemed like they must be at least ripe enough to eat.
    So anyway, I crack the nut open and take a taste. The meat of the nut was soft and tender, and kind of tasted like a banana... almost. I'm not a huge expert when it comes to nuts, but I'm pretty sure that's not what is to be expected, so I'm here to see if anyone knows why. Were they just unripe, despite falling and turning brown/splitting? Or do they need to be cured like walnuts? Or roasted to get a more crisp nutmeat? And by the way, this all right along the border between agricultural zones 6a and 6b.
    All help is appreciated, thank you!


  2. #2
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    There are somewhere around a dozen different hickory species so the taste would depend on which one you were eating. If the nuts are falling, absent disease or storms, then they are ripe.

  3. #3

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    Thank you! I'll have to check the tree again and try to see which species it is. I've narrowed it already to shellbark, shagbark, pignut, mockernut, red hickory and sand hickory by the nut itself.

  4. #4

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    If you are using the nut for ID, the difference between a pignut and a shagbark is pretty striking. You should be able to rule out one or the other pretty quick. A shagbark husk is nearly round and a hefty 1/4" thick around the nut inside. It's much easier looking at the bark of the tree and the leaves for ID.

    With any of those heavy husked nuts, it's good to get them out of the husk and let them age and dry out a bit. Otherwise you might find them a little hard to get out of the shell and maybe even a little bitter. If you leave them in the green husk, they'll get all moldy.
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    Senior Member Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    I think you are supposed to roast them over an open fire... just saying... Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.
    "Never work against mother nature"--Caesar Milan.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    I think you are supposed to roast them over an open fire... just saying... Guests can not see images in the messages. Please register in the forum.
    Naw, you only do that with Chet'snuts.......at Christmas.......
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    At long as Chet doesn't complain too much.

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    Poor ole Chet.
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