I remember reading in ‘Braiding with Sweetgrass’ that the author’s grandfather collected pecans. She writes, “The word pecan - the fruit of the tree know as the pecan hickory comes to English from indigenous languages. Pigan is nut, any nut.” Her people were relocated from The Great Lakes where there were no pecans, so when they found them in Kansas they just called them nuts - pigan.
She goes on to say “in the old times they’d boil them up in a porridge. The fat floated to the top like a chicken soup and it was skimmed and stored it as a nut butter: Good winter food.”
Now, I’m wondering, if her people prepared pecans in that fashion, then did they do the same with butternuts, black walnuts and hickories? I have a bunch of black walnuts and from what I’ve read, they’re a pig to shell. Maybe smashing them up and making a nut butter would be a better option? I can’t find anything online on how to this. Have you made a nut butter this way? I’m happy to experiment.
i had a conversation somewhere on here about this very passage. i’ll see if i can dig i up. i’ve made nut butter from black walnut nutmeats (but not via boiling), and made a traditional hickory milk/broth via boiling crushed hickories…
Judson Carroll wrote:Elpel in Botany in a day says for walnuts and hickories, to just smash them up and boil them. You can collect the oil that way and he says the meats float tot he top. Can be recombined as a nut butter
Cheers - I’ll have fun experimenting in a month or two when they’ve dried out.