Friday, November 19, 2010

To Shell or Nut to Shell?

Today we learned about hickory nuts. My husband and older boys went on a hike this past weekend and Micah brought back a box full of nuts (that at the time I recognized but didn't know what kind they were or if you could eat them). Since doing a little research, we have learned that they are hickory nuts and can be eaten like pecans, in fact they are part of the same family as the pecan.

Hickory nuts

We did learn that you cannot break them open with a regular nutcracker. It takes a hammer and hitting them in the right place to get the meat out.

Tried using a nut cracker, didn't work.
These cracked nuts were done with a hammer.

Kaitlyn cracking hickory nuts with a hammer outside.

A closer look

One of the things that we love doing around Thanksgiving is buying nuts in their shells and breaking them open ourselves. I know it takes more time, but it's fun for the kids and has become a tradition around my house. In fact, when I buy the bags of shelled nuts I get, "Aww Mom, why are you buying those. We like to break them open ourselves." So this year we are breaking open our nuts (I may buy some small bags of shelled nuts, just in case the ones being shelled get eaten, that happens often).

For now we are working on hickory nuts and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Next week we will begin shelling pecans and walnuts for our Thanksgiving meal.

Joshua wanted to try.
(Excuse the toothpaste stains)

Josiah digging out the meat from the hickory nut.

How about you? Do you ever shell your own, or do you always buy the bags of shelled nuts? If you've never shelled your own, try it out. It's a lot of fun for the kids and keeps their hands busy for quite some time :)

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