Find a diamond in the rough woodlands of the eastern United States. Hidden beneath the tough shell of a hickory nut lies a buttery treat with a flavor akin to both a Brazil nut and a pecan. Hickory nuts do not appear in stores due to troubles manufacturers have with developing a method for cracking the shells without breaking the nutmeat. When you prepare hickory nuts at home, most recipes require you to chop the nuts anyway, and breakage during shelling will not matter. Since the pecan also falls into the hickory family, you can substitute hickory nuts for pecans in any of your favorite recipes.
Step on hickory nuts to crack their outer hulls. Pull off the outer hull with your hands.
Lay the hickory nuts in a cool, dry place for several weeks to facilitate cracking the inner shell after removing the outer hull.
Hold a nut with the pliers in one hand to keep the nut steady and your fingers safe.
Hit the nut with a swift blow from the hammer wielded in your other hand.
Pull the nutmeat out of the cracked shell with the nut pick.
Scatter the hickory nuts onto a baking sheet and roast at 200 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Use the hickory nuts as a one-to-one substitute for pecans or walnuts in any recipe.
Add chopped hickory nuts as a topping for salads, desserts, cereal or meat dishes.