Author Topic: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes  (Read 6760 times)

Offline SC

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Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« on: December 17, 2007, 05:48:24 AM »
I have a question born out of desperation.  ::)
We were blessed with an abundance of unshelled pecans at our house.
A precious angel in work pants and suspenders wanted to know if we would like some, and I now have TWO washtubs full of unshelled pecans.

I don't have the latest gadget (as seen on TV). Previous to this, I would just get a hammer and work on them in my spare time. . . . BUT, time is short and the pecans are MANY. It's just me against the clock.

What's the most efficient way to shell and clean these things? What's your favorite method for a large amount? There are too many for me to be picking at every individual nut, but I don't want to bite down on forgotten shells later either. AND we just aren't going to purchase a special gadget.

So, help me out girls  :-* ;) :)
I'm no doctor . . .             I'm not even a Post hole Digger! ;)

Offline Jessarie

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2007, 06:17:20 AM »
Hi there!  This is coming from someone who can't remember the last time she cracked open a nut, BUT I was talking to a gentleman at our farmer's market a week ago who was selling unshelled walnuts in bulk and he said a lot of people drive over them with their cars to get a bunch cracked open at a time.  I don't know if it works with pecans.  I am going to a farm to pick up some things today and they sell unshelled pecans, so I'll see if they have any recommendations. 

Offline SC

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2007, 06:24:07 AM »
Hi there!  This is coming from someone who can't remember the last time she cracked open a nut, BUT I was talking to a gentleman at our farmer's market a week ago who was selling unshelled walnuts in bulk and he said a lot of people drive over them with their cars to get a bunch cracked open at a time.  I don't know if it works with pecans.  I am going to a farm to pick up some things today and they sell unshelled pecans, so I'll see if they have any recommendations. 
:D :D :D
Well, I was hoping for something that left the nut meat intact. LOL!
And that still leaves me with the question of the most efficient way to pick the nuts clean.

With all of the nuts around here, I'm guessing someone here has some experience ::)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 06:26:23 AM by SC »
I'm no doctor . . .             I'm not even a Post hole Digger! ;)

Offline ladyhen

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2007, 06:52:48 AM »
What a blessing you have, SC! 

We had a pecan tree for 25 years and our sweeties used to be the little angels that sold pecans door to door to make money.  I miss those nuts now that I have to pay $$$ for them.  The tree was at the side of our driveway and I know from experience that driving over pecans makes them inedible to anyone but dogs and toddlers.  :P

When we would shell a lot of them, we found it easiest to just set aside an evening and all that were old enough to be a real help would work. 

If you crack the pointed end of the shell just right, the shell will come off easily and the nuts will be in nice halves, most of the time.  Takes some practice with the hammer.  I think it was with the 'seam' of the shell horizontal and striking close to the high part above the point with a blow slanted toward the pointed end.  Does that make any sense? 

Wish I could come over and help!   ;)
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;    Titus 2:13

Offline Jessarie

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2007, 08:43:05 AM »
Sorry!  I feel like a pretty good idiot  :-\

Offline SC

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2007, 08:47:10 AM »
Oh DON'T!
You aren't. Not all nuts are the same. You couldn't have known.
We're a pretty mixed bag here as it is  ;) :D
I'm no doctor . . .             I'm not even a Post hole Digger! ;)

Offline MamaSong

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2007, 05:43:39 PM »
We had a pecan tree in our yard the year and a half that we lived in Florida when I was a little girl.  I can remember cracking plenty of nuts!  We had a standard metal nutcracker and nut pick.  Something like this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/5-ANTIQUE-HMQ-STAINLESS-STEEL-NUT-CRACKERS-PICK_W0QQitemZ170178511001QQihZ007QQcategoryZ48788QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

But you don't have to go out and buy something to get the same effect.  I can remember doing this from time to time.  Use a pair of pliers to crack the nuts and then use an ice pick or fork tines to help pry the nut meat out.  Pliers and nutcrackers give you more control than a hammer (and risk less damage to tables and fingers!)  As mentioned above, if you position the nut correctly (pressure on the seam), it is more likely to open neatly and leave the meat in halves.  And, yes, get some help and make a "party" of it.  Make an assembly line and have one person crack while the other picks.

Another idea...leave the shells on some and use them in Christmas decorating!  Fill up a glass vase, hurricane lamp, or bowl (add a candle, if desired) and you have a simple centerpiece or decoration for a mantle.  Okay...so that's not the kind of advice you asked for, but that's what I'd do if I had too many pecans to handle!  Who says you have to eat them all right now?   ;)

Offline milmuth

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2007, 10:38:21 PM »
My inlaws have SEVERAL pecan trees- covers their entire yard!  AND< they just brought me several bags (traveled far with them)- some cracked, some unshelled.  SO....

this is where we get our cracker:
http://texannutsheller.com/
the texan york nut sheller
It's not that expensive, all things considered- esp since we do it all the time.  around $15, I think.

We store ours in the freezer- cracked or uncracked- keep in fridge if using soon, freezer if gonna be awhile.  They stay fresh that way. 

How much freezer space do you have?  I'd freeze them WHOLE if at all possible as they will be fresher longer.  IN a grocery bag or such is fine.  paper or plastic, we've done both.  We have done this for over a year or so, crack them and then eat- not as fresh as off the tree, but much better than store bought!

As to cracking instructions- pecans are a softer nut- definitely recommend pliers if not a real cracker.  If using a cracker- cut the ends off, then roll it in the cracker and "gently" crack as you turn the nut (a little turn, crack, a little turn, crack...) just hard enough to crack the shell- then pull all hte shell off.  There are two "halves" with a softer shell part in the middle.  The halves rarely stay together, so just pull out the soft stuff as much as you can.  THe challenge with pecans is that they have lots of crevices that harbor this soft shell part, and it's bitter if eaten so you like to get it all out.  We pick what we can easily remove, then place in tupperware container and shake shake shake (usually youngest child's job!)  The pecans won't be crumbs, honest!  But there will be alot of "dust" at the bottom of the container when done.

PM me if you have more questions.  Note: there are different types of pecans- some are "dirtier" than others, some are easier to shell than others.  Hopefully yours are very yummy and ya'll will appreciate the efforts.  Oh, and cracking parties are much more fun than doing it alone- it is alot of work!  Great eveing project with Christmas music or such.  Enjoy!

Thanks for the tip on driving over nuts- I'll have to ttry that on macadamian nuts- the cracker is NOT strong enough for them- 300psi required to crack one nut!  crazy!!!

Offline bizymum

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2007, 04:41:18 AM »
I love pecans!  I wish we had room for some trees!  And, of course, down here in the south, we pronouce them PE-cans.    ;D

Offline SC

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2007, 05:22:16 AM »
I love pecans!  I wish we had room for some trees!  And, of course, down here in the south, we pronouce them PE-cans.    ;D
Yes, and that's also the thing Granny kept under the bed to save her late-night trips to the 'house out back.'  ;)
I'm no doctor . . .             I'm not even a Post hole Digger! ;)

Offline bizymum

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2007, 07:43:08 AM »
ROTFLOL!!!!! :D :D

Offline Jessarie

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2007, 07:49:59 AM »
Well, as promised I asked my "pecan farmer" the best way to open the pecans when I went to the farm to pick up some other stuff yesterday afternoon, and she said "they're easy" and the best way is just with a nutcracker.  Of course, the pecan experts have already spoken, but I wanted to let you know I did what I said I would!  ;D

Offline milmuth

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2007, 08:41:57 AM »
I love pecans!  I wish we had room for some trees!  And, of course, down here in the south, we pronouce them PE-cans.    ;D
Yes, and that's also the thing Granny kept under the bed to save her late-night trips to the 'house out back.'  ;)

ROFLOL!!!!  thanks for the laughs!!    ;D

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2007, 10:49:06 AM »
How about a hammer? ::)
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Offline chopchop

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2007, 10:59:35 AM »
Many farm/feed type stores have a cracking machine.  Usually they charge you between .10 and .25 per lb to run them through this machine and then the nuts just basically fall out of the shells and most of the pecans are still whole. You have to remove them from the shells but all the work of cracking is done expertly!  ;D It is really worth it for me to do it this way. HTH!

Offline joyful_mommy03

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2008, 11:51:38 AM »
Just wondering if anyone knows of health benefits in using pecan shells.  A friend has a local farm with pesticide-free unshelled pecans.  I know what to do with the nut and I know black walnut shell has some health benefits, so I was wondering the same about pecans.

I'm going to start searching the internet, but I thought I would ask all you intelligent ladies first!!

Offline joyful_mommy03

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2008, 11:58:25 AM »
Just wondering if anyone knows of health benefits in using pecan shells.  A friend has a local farm with pesticide-free unshelled pecans.  I know what to do with the nut and I know black walnut shell has some health benefits, so I was wondering the same about pecans.

I'm going to start searching the internet, but I thought I would ask all you intelligent ladies first!!


Preliminary searching found that shells are good for charcoal replacement in the grill and that's about it.

Anyone else know anything?

Offline joyful_mommy03

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2008, 12:49:02 PM »
Sorry to keep bugging ... anyone know how much actual pecan is yielded from one pound of unshelled pecans?

Thanks!

Offline ladyhen

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Re: Pecans -- Preparation & Recipes
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2008, 04:15:06 AM »
Sorry to keep bugging ... anyone know how much actual pecan is yielded from one pound of unshelled pecans?

Thanks!

We lived with a pecan tree in the yard for over 20 years and the only use we knew of for the shells was poking our bare feet.   :D   They are sharp, hard, and not good for anything except burning and not much use for that.  With walnuts, it is the hull that has medicinal use.  The pecan hulls have no medicinal value as far as I know. 

I don't know the weight ratio of shelled to unshelled, and it would certainly vary from one variety of pecans to another and maybe even from tree to tree.  (there were a LOT of pecan trees in our neighborhood)   I would guess that, based on volume, we would get about a cup of shelled nuts from a gallon of nuts in the shell.

hth
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;    Titus 2:13