Hickory Nut FAQ

What’s the difference between shagbark, shellbark, and sweet pignut?


Shagbarks are the most common of the hickory nuts. They taste the most nutty and least sweet. They taste like maple flavored pecans (but better!) to me. These are the easiest to crack. an use a hand cracker or Texan York Nut Sheller. The shells are typically white. They are on the smaller side. The size of the shell, the size of the nut, the thickness of the shell can all vary greatly from tree to tree and nut to nut.

Shellbark hickory nuts are sweeter than shagbarks. When they are fresh they taste decidedly like bananas. Shellbarks are sometimes called the King Nut because they are relatively large. The Shellbark nuts are extremely strong and difficult to crack by hand. I recommend a black walnut cracker. The Shellbark trees love being where it’s wet, so shellbark trees are pretty rare.

Sweet Pignuts
Some people in the know argue that Sweet Pignuts are not actually a species. They are a pignut that crossed with shagbark or are some other aberration of a pignut. Well, I don’t know. I found one very prolific tree that was not shagbark or shellbark and the nuts were extremely delicious. I could only explain it as Sweet Pignuts (or Red Hickory nuts).

Do I sell shelled hickory nuts?

Unfortunately I don’t sell shelled hickory nuts at this time. I really wish I did! As you probably know it is work to shell hickory nuts. There’s just no way around it. I deal with hundreds of pounds of hickory nuts every season. It just isn’t cost effective for me to shell the nuts. I think the tedious shelling process is one of the main reasons we haven’t seen them in the grocery store. Well, I’ve eaten a whole lot of hickory nuts, and I’m learning the most efficient ways to process them. Right now it’s the Texan York Nut Sheller.

One of my main goals with this business is to figure out a way to mechanize the hickory nut shelling process. I’ll channel my inner Buckminster Fuller and try to invent something. I’ll report back to you soon. If you see hickory nuts in the grocery store, then just know that I did it!

Do I ship to outside the US (including Canada)?

Unfortunately at this time I do not ship internationally. Nothing pains me more than standing in the way of you and delicious hickory nuts! I’m not prepared to deal with customs. I am as tiny as it gets; it’s just little ole me. I really would like to scale this business. At that point hopefully I’ll be incorporated and will be able to better serve my international friends. I hope you understand.

A few suggestions would be to ship to a friend that can bring them to you if they are planning a visit or ship them to a someone that will forward them on to you.

How do you store hickory nuts?

Check out this page.

What are those worms?

Well, there’s a weevil larva that likes hickory nuts almost as much as I do! Hopefully you’ll never see any larvae. Usually I can separate out any bad nuts by doing a float test. But these are a natural product and those weevil larvae do love hickory nuts. 😛


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