October is the month when you will find hickory nuts scattered along roadsides as you go for a daily walk or bike ride. It's easy to identify the shagbark hickory because of... well, it's shaggy bark. It always looks like it's peeling off.
Once you're ready (this could be anytime in the winter), the nutmeats can be extracted. I usually crack hickory nuts with a hammer on a hard surface- cement floor or cement block. Hickory nuts are much harder to crack than black walnuts, and there is less nutmeat to show for it. However, I very much prefer the taste of hickory to that of walnut. Plus, cracking nuts is fun for anyone old enough to use a hammer. It's cheap fun for kids. My sister and I spent hours out in my dad's shop cracking hickory nuts. Eating the yummy nutmeats was reward enough. :)
Have you ever had hickory nuts? What do you use them for?