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The Story of Our Shagbark Hickory Syrup

A bottle of our shagbark hickory syrup.

It’s $12/bottle, but check out the Shop page to get discounts on a 3-bottles or a whole case.

Ever heard of shagbark hickory syrup? I know you’ve heard of maple syrup, made from the sap of a maple tree.

Shagbark hickory also goes by the name of Scalybark Hickory, but they’re both the same tree. The latin binomial name is Carya ovata.

Well the shagbark syrup is different than maple syrup. Although the tree can be tapped, for this one, it’s the bark that is used.

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.

This time his idea was shagbark hickory syrup.

Freshly gathered hickory nuts from the Wild Ozark trees.
Freshly gathered hickory nuts from the Wild Ozark trees.

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.

Bark from the shagbark hickory tree. This is what we make our shagbark hickory syrup from.
Bark from the shagbark hickory tree. This is what we make our shagbark hickory syrup from.

Time Tested

Apparently, this kind of syrup is an old-timey thing. There are lots of variations on the recipe online. Rob was looking up recipes for hickory pie (like pecan pie but using hickories instead) and he stumbled on a post about the syrup and his creative wheels started turning.

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.

On a Friday eve that fall, Rob made the syrup. And, like the coffee, it was so delicious it’s going to become another must-have in our cupboard!

It wasn’t long afterwards that we started thinking bigger. What started out as an experiment has built to a full-fledged business and LLC company: Burnt Kettle Foods.

A basic 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:

  • Gather bark from the tree
  • Clean bark by washing and scrubbing
  • Break bark into smaller pieces
  • Roast bark in the oven
  • Add bark to a pot and cover by several inches with water
  • Decoct the bark by cooking on very low heat (no boiling, no bubbles breaking)
  • Remove bark from water, strain liquid, return to pot
  • Barely simmer to concentrate to nice dark color
  • For each cup of liquid add 2 cups sugar
  • Cook until sugar is completely dissolved and thickens
  • Pour into jars
  • Enjoy!

Scaling Up

We’re cooking large batches at the Food Innovation Kitchen in Fayetteville Arkansas.

If you know of any good chefs who ¬†might like to try our product in their kitchens, let me know. Or let them know! I’ll send samples to anyone interested in wholesale purchases.

We sell them retail at $12/bottle on the website, $15/bottle at Etsy, and it’s available at various locations throughout northwest Arkansas.

For wholesale inquiries, drop me an email at [email protected]

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The original smoky flavored Shagbark Hickory Syrup will be the first one to hit the shelves. But watch out for our new and exciting Chili Petin Shagbark Hickory Syrup and our Cinnamon Infused Shagbark Hickory Syrup, too!

A bottle of our shagbark hickory syrup.
It’s $12/bottle, but check out the Shop page to get discounts on a 3-bottle set.

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About

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Contact

Three ways to get in touch:

  1. Email
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  3. Snail Mail:

Burnt Kettle
c/o Robert Riedel
P.O. Box 173
Kingston, AR 72742