A simple hickory nut recipe you can make without separating the nutmeat from the shell. You'll enjoy this seasonal drink each fall!
Using your hands or a dull knife, separate the outer husk from the inner shell (they should come off easily).
Cut off a square piece of thick cardboard from an old box (2×2 size should be fine), then grab a hammer, and a bowl. Bring these 3 items + your hickory nuts to a flat hard outdoor surface (a concrete driveway is ideal, especially if you want your neighbors to think you’re nuts, pun intended). Place one hickory nut at a time on the cardboard, then fold the cardboard over so that it covers the nut (like a hickory nut cardboard sandwich). Smash each nut into smallish pieces with a hammer (you don’t have to pulverize them, quartered pieces is plenty small). Once you get the hang of doing one nut at a time, you can graduate to doing a few at a time to speed things up.
Place the smashed hickory nut pieces—both the shell and nut pieces together—into your bowl (both the nutmeat and the shell go into your ambrosia). You’ll occasionally get a bad nut that is black inside, so make sure to look at each cracked nut before you add it to your “good nut” bowl. You might even find a small white worm (weevil) that you’ll probably want to remove as well.
Take your bowl of hickory nuts and shell pieces and pour them into a measuring bowl. Whatever the quantity of your hickory nut pieces, you’ll need to have about 3 times more water than nuts in your simmering pot. So if you have 1 cup of hickory pieces, you’ll add 3 cups of water.
Simmer your hickory nuts in a covered pot, stirring vigorously once every 10 minutes or so to help break apart the nuts and unlock more flavor. “Simmering” = a low-medium temperature setting on your stove that brings the mixture to just below boiling. After about 30+ minutes, remove the lid and simmer the hickories for 10-15 more minutes to help the flavors concentrate as the water evaporates. *We’ve removed the lid and simmered them for up to 2 additional hours and have found the ambrosia to be even richer/more flavorful than the 45 minute version. If you have the time, we suggest cooking longer for a more concentrated flavor.
You’ll notice that a lot of the nut pieces will separate from the shell when you’re simmering your hickories. So, once you’re all done simmering your hickories (after 40-45 minutes), skim these little nuggets of goodness off of the surface with a spoon or ladle. Most of the flavor will already be drained out of these hickory nuggets, but they’re still good to add to oatmeal, pumpkin bread, or any number of other recipes. Now, pour your entire pot (hickory nuts, shells, and ambrosia) through a pasta colander, strainer, or cheese cloth.
Before serving, add milk and maple syrup, then stir to incorporate. Or let each person add milk and maple syrup to their cups according to their taste preferences.
Hickory nut ambrosia, an easy-to-make fall drink https://www.tyrantfarms.com/recipe-how-to-make-hickory-nut-ambrosia/