Tuesday, November 01, 2011
A Banner Year for Hickory Nuts, Hicans, Butternuts and Beechnuts
It's easier to dream of what bounty the forest once offered in a year when hickories and hicans are littering the ground with delicious nuts conveniently packaged for longterm storage. These in the photo are hickory nuts, which may trigger memories for some of Euell Gibbons pitching Grapenuts cereal.
(Juglans cinerea), also called white walnut. The butternut, particularly one that is pure native and not a hybrid, is fairly rare and made rarer by butternut canker. The canker disease, like so many diseases and insects that threaten our native trees, was likely introduced from another continent.
After collecting nuts from the ground, it's best to leave them in a metal bowl for a week or so to allow time for any pecan weevils to emerge. Nuts that don't have the characteristic exit hole should be fine to eat.