Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Free Pecans!

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
After removing the shells and sorting through for stray bits, we are left with these gorgeous pecans. They go into one-quart baggies and back into the freezer, where they take up a fraction of the space used by whole nuts in the shell. Our favorite holiday recipe this year was Pecan Shortbread, which you can find on my recipe blog, right here. Very delicious!


the7msn said...

The image of a freezer full of pecans and green chile is enough to make a girl swoon.

Sylvia K said...

I love pecans! And free is even better! I've pretty much had to give them up these days because of the price! These look delicious! Hope your week is going well, Clairz!


OmaLindasOldeBaggsandStuftShirts said...

Those are some yummy looking pecans. Our back door neighbor has a huge pecan tree and every year we are blessed with wind fall....but with the pecans also come the crows. They love to play fly and drop, makes our little dog nutz. Fun game for the crows though. Oma Linda

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I only bought one bag of pecans this year due to the price. Lucky you to get them for free, and a little bit of work. I love all nuts, but pecans are my favorite.


Babygoose said...

This is the handiest pecan sheller we have found. Very quick once you get the hang of it.

Nan said...

Great sheller! Boy do those ever look good. When I saw the blog entry title, I thought it meant to free some pecans. From what, I have no idea. :<)

Ms. Becky said...

I love that pecan sheller! and I love pecans. when I went shopping with my mom before the holidays we couldn't believe the price of pecans. she ended up doing less baking this year because of it. you're lucky to have them blow into your yard for free! love your header photo. happy day to you Clair.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Have I mentioned that I loved New Mexico? Both the Hatch chiles and the pecans are making my mouth water. Free is lovely and, I swear, always better-tasting! Our daughter grows blueberries which are very expensive in the store, and hers taste soooo much better).

Anonymous said...


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