...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


hickory nut "tea"

There weren't many local hickory nuts in our area this year.

At least not in our yard,
and probably whatever crop there was, 
the squirrels managed to get to first. 

I was happy to find some folks on ebay who forage for nuts 
in other areas of the country
and sell them in bulk boxes.

I just had to buy some hickory nuts because I didn't want to go through winter 
without hickory nut tea!

I had never heard of hickory nut tea until last winter,
and wow!
It is so delicious!!!

Look at this beauty!
Like a brain...!

I don't know if hickory nuts have any specific benefits for your brain,
but drinking the tea feels really deeply nourishing
and the fact that it's delicious makes it even better.

A quick google search told me that hickory nuts have:
a bunch of healthy fat
a little protein
vitamin A
vitamin B-1 (good for your muscles, heart, & central nervous system)
vitamin  B-6
vitamin E
magnesium (so important, and most of our soils are magnesium deficient!)
and a little calcium
and probably a bunch of other good stuff.

Hickory trees are native to North America.  
Hickory nuts have been a valuable food source, 
appreciated by Native Americans,
who made hickory "butter" and
"milk" (this tea) and used it in much of their cooking.

Hickory nuts are really tough nuts to crack.

You can put them in a plastic bag and pulverize them with a hammer.
Some folks recommend soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes or so
before attempting to do anything with them because otherwise
 they shatter or explode or
just keep bouncing out of the cracker or from underneath the hammer.

Before I knew about the plastic bag method
I tried just hammering them and 
that was a total disaster - they just flew everywhere
and I didn't manage to crack a single one.

Then we tried a cracker.
The GET CRACKIN nutcracker.
Made right here in the USA and I got ours at Lehman's.

It works really well.
But now having tried the plastic bag and mallet method, that's much faster.
It destroys the plastic bag, though,
so be prepared for potential mess.

 I'd recommend putting a kitchen towel or something underneath to catch what falls out of the bag
where it ends up splitting.

I smashed a bag of our hickory nuts smithereens in the driveway tonight
because we were both craving some good hickory brew.

The goal for making hickory nut tea is actually 
to shatter them as much as possible, 
to expose as much of the shell surface and nut meats.
There's no fussing and mussing about separating shells and nut meats,
you want all of that good stuff because it infuses the brew
with deliciousness and nutrition.

Look at how moist and full of healthy oil these are!

 Pour your smashed hickory nuts into a big pot.

 Add water.  (a 3:1 ratio, or just eyeball it...
I've done even a 6:1 ratio and it's still been amazing!).

The finest bits of nuts will float automatically.  
Cover and heat until it reaches a low boil and then turn it down to simmer.

 You'll get some nice frothing action.

 As it simmers and steeeps,
the brew will turn darker from the shells,
and all the delicious nut meats will be floating like a
gorgeous mosaic on the surface.

Scoop yourself out a hearty portion
and sweeten to taste with maple syrup.

There's no need to worry about shells getting into your cup -- 
they all stay down at the bottom of the pot.

The nuts give such a fun texture, you get to drink and chew!
This is absolutely my favorite steaming beverage to have anytime in the fall or winter.

I hope you can find some hickory nuts so you can try
this nutty nourishing brew!


No comments:

Post a Comment