Shagbark Hickory Syrup

A package of the bark and some of the syrup from the bark of the shagbark hickory tree.
A package of the bark and some of the syrup from the bark of the shagbark hickory tree.

Shagbark Hickory Syrup

My husband comes up with some tasty ideas for things to make here on the Wild Ozark homestead. Last time it was home roasted coffee. That was so successful it’s now one of our homestead standards (except for right now because we’re out of home roast and have to use store bought).

This time his idea was shagbark hickory syrup.

hickory nuts
Freshly gathered hickory nuts. Hard to beat the squirrels to the good ones!

Skeptical? I was too. This is how the bark of a shagbark hickory looks.

shagbark from shagbark hickory tree

We got our starting recipe from Dave’s Cupboard. Rob was looking up recipes for hickory pie (like pecan pie but using hickories instead) and he stumbled on this site.

We gathered nuts the in fall with plans to make things from them when the weather turned.

We gathered bark, too, because the idea of making syrup from it sure did intrigue. Friday eve Rob made the syrup and, like the coffee, it was so delicious it’s going to become another must-have in our cupboard!

Our modified recipe for Shagbark Hickory Syrup

Rob modified the original recipe some to make it taste more like we like and you can do the same to suit your own tastes. Here’s a rough outline of how it’s done:

  1. Gather bark from the tree
  2. Clean bark by washing and scrubbing
  3. Break bark into smaller pieces
  4. Roast bark in the oven
  5. Add bark to a pot and cover by several inches with water
  6. Decoct the bark by cooking on very low heat (no boiling, no bubbles breaking)
  7. Remove bark from water, strain liquid, return to pot
  8. Decoct to concentrate to nice dark color
  9. For each cup of liquid add 2 cups sugar
  10. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved
  11. Add a little cream of tartar to keep it from crystallizing
  12. Pour into jars
  13. Enjoy!

Here’s the link to the original recipe at Dave’s Cupboard if you want to try making some, too.

You can get a very small bag of bark for $10 with a free bottle of our syrup thrown in here. I’ll soon be adding some larger quantities of bark as a product to the site if you need more to make more than just a taste of the syrup.


hickory nut bark-syrup

About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.

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4 Replies to “Shagbark Hickory Syrup”

  1. Gathering the bark isn’t hard at all, Janet. It flakes right off. This was the second batch Rob made and after the first one he figured out that a stronger bark tea/decoction would make a bolder flavored syrup. It is amazing (and so is he, lol). I hope y’all had a wonderful holiday as well 🙂

  2. Hello!
    Thank you for the recipe for Shagbark Hickory Syrup. I am making some as I write. I am at the stage where I am reducing the tea to concentrate it. At this point I would like to quit for the day and continue tomorrow (adding sugar, etc.) I imagine that this won’t harm anything (?). My next question is about storing the syrup. If this batch is successful, I would like to make more for Christmas gifts. Have you tried canning the syrup using a hot water bath? Or is this not necessary? If it is not canned, should it be refrigerated?
    Any help that you can give me is appreciated.

    1. Hi Louise, you’re welcome 🙂 If you’ve already finished making the tea, I would keep it in the refrigerator overnight and it should do fine to start again the next day. We didn’t process ours in the canner, and I believe the taste changed after storing it for a few months. So I’d can it if I planned to keep it more than a few weeks next time. Even refrigeration doesn’t keep my maple syrup good for more than a few months it seems. Also, the sugar in ours crystallized in the bottom of the jars, but I’ve made other syrups since then and added a shot of bourbon to it and that kept it from crystallizing. There were other suggestions at the link to the original recipe for other things to add if you want to avoid the alcohol. Good luck and let me know how it turned out!

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