By Tonia Williams Cherokee.org
Note: Cultural information may vary from clan to clan, location to location,
family to family, and from differing opinions and experiences. Information provided here are not 'etched in stone'.
Kanuchi is considered to be a real delicacy. The nuts
are gathered in the fall and allowed to dry for a few weeks before the kanuchi making begins. It is a simple process,
but that does not necessarily mean that is easy. The hickory nuts are cracked and the largest pieces of shell removed
either by shaking the pieces through a loosely woven basket, or picking them out by hand.
Traditionally, a log was hollowed out on one end into
a bowl like shape. The shelled hickory nuts are placed in the hollowed log and pounded with a long heavy stick
with the end rounded to have the same contour, more or less, as the cavity in the log. The nuts are pounded until
they are of a consistency that can be formed into a ball that will hold its shape. Kanuchi balls are usually about
three inches in diameter and must be stored in a cold place. Today kanuchi is usually preserved by freezing.
To prepare kanuchi for the table, place a kanuchi
ball in a saucepan with about a quart of water and bring it to a boil to dissolve the ball. Allow the kanuchi to
simmer about ten minutes and then poor it through a fine sieve. (A colander lined with cheese cloth works very
well for this.) All the remaining shells are left in the sieve. If you have the time and patience you can pick
the larger bits of nut meat from the shells in the sieve and add them to the liquid kanuchi. The kanuchi should
be about as thick as light cream. Most traditional cooks will add about two cups of homemade hominy to a quart
of kanuchi. Some cooks prefer hominy grits, which are prepared according to package directions and added to the
kanuchi. Such things as consistency and how much hominy or hominy grits to add are, of course a matter of taste,
as is the addition of salt or sugar.
Serve kanuchi hot as soup.
Note: In the late winter months, fresh meat was hard to come by. This is the
time of year when Natives relied on foods such as pemmican for nourishment.
|Jerky; beef or venison
Dried Saskatoon berries or dried blueberries
Unroasted sunflower seeds or crushed nuts of any kind
This version uses peanut butter rather than melted
suet or lard as the binding agent, which is more palatable for today's health conscious diets.
Grind [or pound] the dried meat to a mealy powder.
Add the dried berries and seeds or nuts. Heat the honey, peanut butter and cayenne until softened. Blend. When
cooled, store in a plastic bag or sausage casing in a cool dry place. It will keep for months.
From: Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada, published by the National Museums of Canada, ISBN 0-660-00128-4