To the Editor,
I received this question from a guy in Neosho, Mo., in response to one of my columns in this publication, and thought I would share it with you, along with my answer.
• Question: Just wanted to ask you a question about hickory nuts. I have several hickory nut trees in my yard and I was wondering if there’s anything useful that I can do with the nuts, whether it’s as bait for squirrel hunting or whatever.
Or, maybe I should just rake them up and dispose of them in the burn pile?
It is something I’ve been wondering about for a while and I thought you would be the person to ask. I don’t like having possible resources going to waste.
• Answer: It is good to hear someone say that. Today’s generation wastes so much. For instance, there were 14 male cousins in my family and we would save all hickory nuts, and when we got together for Thanksgiving at my grandparents farm, we would divide up into two or three groups and have hickory nut fights, throwing them at each other! We also used persimmons, rotten apples, etc.
Here on Lightnin’ Ridge you could never have a good hickory nut fight at Thanksgiving because the darn squirrels have decimated them by then.
Back during my boyhood, Grandpa harvested squirrels enough to save some hickory nuts somewhat and we often ate “hickory grove chicken” for dinner, except on Sundays when we ate real chicken.
Go to a computer somewhere, (many neighbors will have one) and look up “hickory nut harvesting and use” and you won’t believe what you find. It is amazing. There is even a hickory nut pie recipe.
They give all kinds of uses for the meat and the shells both. It’s pages and pages of great hickory information.
But I am not sure that the best thing a hickory tree offers isn’t the squirrels it attracts.
I would like to forget the uses my Grandma made of small-diameter hickory limbs she referred to as switches!