So you got a sack of hickory nuts, or you’re thinking about purchasing some to try. Now you’re wondering, “how do I get that goodness in me!? How do I crack these hickory nuts?”
One of the reasons you don’t see hickory nuts grown commercially is because they can be tricky to get out of the shell. They aren’t like a pistachio. You can’t just snap the shell in half. I do admit they take patience, but I think it’s totally worth it! Wait until those nuts hit your taste buds.
Plus, part of the charm is sitting around eating nuts with your family or watching a movie. No reason to be in such a hurry.
There are, however, a few things you can do to optimize your time.
Now, we should make a distinction between “crack” and “shell.” Cracking hickory nuts is exactly what it sounds like. The nuts are still in pieces of the shell, but you can pick them out.
Shelling hickory nuts is where the nut is completely removed from the shell and the pieces are usually perfect halves of hickory nuts.
We also need to make a distinction between Shagbark and Shellbark hickory nuts. These are the kinds of hickory nuts that I sell. Getting to the nut meat inside is a bit different between the two. I’ll explain that now.

Shagbark Hickory Nuts

Cracking Shagbark Hickory Nuts

Shagbark nuts aren’t hard to crack. You can use a common hand cracker like this one.  I’m about to upload my review of this cracker, but for now you’ll have to trust me. After you crack the nut you will use your pick to work out the nut meat from the shell. Keep those shells totally separate. I had a friend that broke a tooth when a piece of shell drove itself like a wedge between her teeth. After a while you get a discerning eye.
This method is the best when you’re lounging around with your family during an autumn evening. No reason to rush that hickory nut greatness.
I can run these through my heavy duty,
Shelling Shagbark Hickory Nuts
Maybe you want to make a pie or cookie and you need to remove the shells. So far the best method I’ve found for shelling shagbark nuts is to use the Texan York Nut Sheller. Basically you cut the ends off. Then you cut the top off. Then you can simply cut down the middle and you usually have two perfect hickory nut halves. I’m going to make a review about it soon, but for now you can find a few videos about it on YouTube.


Shellbark Hickory Nuts

Cracking Shellbark Hickory Nuts

Shellbark hickory nuts are harder to crack than Shagbark. A basic cracker isn’t going to cut it. For those you will probably want anything that can crack a black walnut. They are pretty hard.
Of course I can run them through my heavy duty cracker for you. I can crack a pound of either kind in no more than two minutes.
Now if you’re looking to cleanly shell them (shagbark) for a pie. I think the texan nut sheller is the best thing going! At some point soon I hope to do a review of that too.
Someday I may invent a machine to do it at scale.:)
I hope you try some. I’m not exaggerating when i say that they are the best tasting nut there is.
Sorry for the delay. For some reason responses from the contact form don’t forward to my real email.
pile of cracked hickory nuts
Cracked Hickory Nuts


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