Are hickory nuts safe to eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the questions, are hickory nuts safe to eat, what are hickory nuts, what are their uses, what are the benefits of consuming hickory nuts, and what is their nutrient composition. We will also explore how hickory nuts can be grown and also processed for consumption. 

Are hickory nuts safe to eat? 

Hickory nuts are perfectly safe for consumption. They are obtained from the shagbark trees. They are highly nutritious and have a long shelf life. They can be eaten raw or kept for later consumption. They are of various varieties. 

What are hickory nuts?

Hickory nuts are the fruits of the hickory tree. They are green and have double shells. There are different varieties such as the butternut hickory, pignut hickory, shellbark hickory, red hickory, sandnut hickory, and mockernut hickory. 

They are of the genus Carya which has over 18 species. They are edible and rich in calories. Hickory nuts are globular or oval in shape. 

They range from 1-3 centimeters in diameter. They have flexible genetics and over 9 species have been hybridized. 

They are estimated to have evolved over 36 million years ago. They are widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. They prefer areas with a relatively high average temperature. 

What is the nutrient composition of hickory nuts?

Hickory nuts are highly nutritious and have 200kcal per nut. They are a great source of fats and oils. They are also used as snacks to boost energy. The table below shows the nutrient levels and their concentrations to 100g of hickory nuts. 

Nutrient Concentration 
Carbohydrates 18.25g 
Fat 64.37g
Protein 12.72g
Vitamins 1.7g
Minerals 2.5g
Water 2.65g

Hickory nuts are rich in calories as they contain lots of fats and carbohydrates. They contain dietary fiber which makes up 6.4g of the total carbohydrates. Dietary fiber aids the body in enhancing bowel movements. 

Hickory nuts also contain huge amounts of fats. Fats are used as a source of energy. This also makes them a good snack in between meals. 

They contain 18 essential proteins at different concentrations. Some of the proteins include tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, valine, arginine, alanine, and others. Proteins aid in body repair and promote enzyme activity.

They also contain essential vitamins such as thiamine which helps in DNA repair, synthesis, and expression. 

Other vitamins such as folate, vitamin C, and B are present. It also contains riboflavin which acts as an antioxidant and helps the body in the synthesis of free radicals which cause autoimmune diseases.  

What are the benefits of eating hickory nuts?

They have a high-calorie content which replenishes the body’s energy once eaten. They are also rich in proteins which promote excellent body repair of damaged tissues. This promotes fast recovery from mechanical injuries. 

They are rich in vitamins which mostly serve as antioxidants. The vitamins help the body’s metabolic process to combat free radicals that tend to precursor autoimmune diseases and the development of tumors.

How are hickory nuts grown?

Growing hickory trees is done by sprouting the seeds. Their deep taproots can make transplanting strenuous. 

Hickory seeds are gathered during harvesting and are checked for viability. This is simply done by dipping them in a bucket of water, those that sink are good for sprouting. 

The seeds are soaked in water for a week before planting. Planting is done in spring. They can be planted directly or in containers. 

They are buried deep into the soil to allow for a period of dormancy which is essential for germination. The soils should also be well-drained to avoid flooding. 

Planting is done in a well-sunned location. Hickory trees start growth by first extending root growth before shooting up from the soil. Planted hickory nuts require protection from rodents such as squirrels, rabbits, deers, and direct sunlight. 

What are the uses of hickory nuts and trees?

The hickory tree is hardy and is used to make furniture and other accessories such as baseball bats. It is also used as fuel for camps and bonfires. 

The hard outsides of the nuts are also used as wood fuel. These nuts are also used to make oil which is used as a supplement. 

How do you prepare hickory nuts for consumption?

Hickory nuts have a hard inner shell that is crushed in order to get to the seeds. The seeds are white and fleshy. They can be eaten raw. 

They can also be dried and ground into flour which is used to supplement porridge flours and maize flour. You can source quality hickory nuts from here. 


In this brief article, we have answered the questions, are hickory nuts safe to eat, what are hickory nuts, what are their uses, what are the benefits of consuming hickory nuts, and what is their nutrient composition. We have also explored how hickory nuts can be grown and also processed for consumption.