Thursday, February 04, 2021 by Arsenio Toledo
Hickory nuts are great emergency food for foraging preppers. With over 19 different varieties of hickory trees in existence, finding hickory nuts shouldn’t be a challenge, even for urban preppers. If you’re a beginner, here’s a guide to help you identify, harvest and preserve hickory nuts for your prepping and survival needs.
The best way to identify hickory nuts is to know what they look like. There are many nut-bearing trees in North America, and it is crucial for a forager to recognize the difference between edible and poisonous nuts. (Related: Don’t poison yourself: 5 things to keep in mind when foraging for edibles in the wilderness.)
There are many kinds of hickory nuts. Here are some of the most popular ones that you can find, and where they are located in North America.
While it might be tempting to pick a huge hickory nut right off the tree, the reason these have not fallen is that they have not fully matured. The best way to harvest hickory nuts is to pick up the nuts that have fallen on the ground.
Once you have your hickory nut, use a knife to cut into the thick husk and crack it open. Alternatively, you can use a hammer to open it. While this method is easier, it could also break the meat inside the nut into multiple pieces. To avoid this, bring home the nuts you have foraged and use a nutcracker to open them.
The best way to preserve hickory nuts is to dry them. You can dry them naturally, which will take between three days to a week. Naturally dried nuts can last up to 24 months if they are stored in a container and kept in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, such as in a root cellar, garage or basement.
You can also roast hickory nuts in an oven. Set the oven at 300 F and roast the nuts for 30 minutes to two hours. Allow them to cool until they reach room temperature. Roasted hickory nuts will not last more than 21 days.
Hickory nuts are a great survival food item. Among other things, they can help boost your energy, stabilize your blood cholesterol and improve your digestion. So long as you know how to identify the trees that bear them, you can safely harvest and preserve hickory nuts for later use.
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