Around and About

Interesting Plants around Foster

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) is a common, although not abundant, tree of the mid and low slope habitats of Foster. It is easily recognized all seasons of the year by the bark which separates into long shaggy strips. Leaves are compound, usually with five leaflets. Shagbarks produce a crop of sweet nuts in September.

Shagbark Hickory at Borders Farm, Foster, RI


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Wild Rice Salad with Toasted Hickory Nuts
1/4 lb wild rice (or brown rice)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 TBS shallots or mild onions
1TBS vinegar, preferably balsamic
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cups hickory nut meats, toasted at 350 degrees until fragrant and lightly colored cup chopped flat leaf parsley - as much as you like
1/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
1/3 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins.

Make rice according to package directions. Make vinaigrette: whisk orange juice, shallots or onions, vinegar, mustard and garlic in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil 'til thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in rice. Add remaining ingredients.


This makes 6 servings.

Shagbark hickory nuts at Borders Farm, Foster, RI


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Hickory-Nut Date Cookies
(adapted from Euell Gibbons)
Sift together: 1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg.


In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar. Add one egg and 1/4 cup buttermilk to the butter and sugar mix. Add one cup hickory nut meats and 1 cup chopped dates. Stir only until all ingredients are just incorporated. Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets and bake in a 375 oven for 10-12 minutes.

* If you only have the stamina, or time, to pick out a few hickory nutmeats, then eat them out of hand, add to oatmeal or granola, toss into pumpkin bread or even plum cake.