|Pecans as they look when they fall into our yard|
As you may know, we live in the middle of a pecan orchard. The orchard that surrounds us belongs to someone else, but at this time of year when the wind blows lots of pecans land in our yard. We would never touch a pecan on someone else's tree or on their land, but the ones in our own yard are ours for the picking. We try to grab them up before the dogs get them, but it takes a bit of work before they are ready for use.
I have been trying to get all the bags of pecans I have in the freezer shelled so that there will be more room for green chiles, of course. There are quite a few bags from last year and they are taking up lots of freezer space--this is not a bad problem to have, because retail prices for pecans have been steadily rising due to the drought and an increased demand from China. Prices are expected to be around $11/pound at the store this year--both good and bad news for pecan farmers. Good, because that means they are getting a great price for all their hard work, and bad because such a high price will certainly discourage some grocery shoppers.
Here is how we prepare them. First, I remove any remaining husks and rinse and drain the nuts.
The first year we lived here, for shelling the nuts we used the old-fashioned nutcracker I had in the kitchen drawer. It looks much like this one, shown with an almond.
|The old way (Google Images)|
The work was fairly miserable, and formerly eager helpers started avoiding my kitchen. I figured there must be a better way--there is, and my new pecan sheller is wonderful. I found it on Amazon, and it makes the job quicker, more pleasant, and far more successful.
|The new, much improved way|
|The nuts are cracked lengthwise|