Hickory nuts, which contain hard outer husks, begin to fall off trees in the early fall and should be harvested quickly to maintain their freshness. The nuts should be husked and dried before you can crack them open to get to the meat. After you remove the meat from hickory nuts, you can add them to recipes or eat them raw.
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Things you need
- Walnut cracker or vice
- Nut pick
Sort through the hickory nuts and remove any that have holes or appear discoloured. Rinse the nuts under cool water.
Insert the hickory nut in a walnut cracker in the open space between the two half circles. Pull the handle firmly until the hickory nut cracks. You can also place the hickory nut in a vice and clamp down on it until it cracks open.
Remove the meat inside the nut with a nut pick. Discard the shell once you remove the meat. Place the nut into a bowl or consume immediately.
Rinse the hickory nuts under cool water to remove dirt and debris. Throw out hickory nuts that appear discoloured or nuts that contain holes.
Place a brick on a flat and hard surface. Avoid placing it on an unstable table or uneven surface.
Place one hickory nut on the brick. Hold it between two of your fingers with the stem points to the right. You want to hold the sides of the hickory nut so that you do not hide the area that you need to crack open.
Aim the hammer close to the stem of the hickory nut. You will need to hit the hickory nut 1/3 of the way down. Hit the hickory nut firmly one to two times to crack it open with the hammer. Remove and discard the shell, and place the meat in a bowl or consume it immediately.
Tips and warnings
- Cracking hickory nuts open with a nutcracker or vice may cause the meat to crack or shatter inside the shell.
- Wear goggles when you crack open the hickory nuts to prevent any shell fragments from injuring your eyes.
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