I have numerous pecan trees, some of which are at least a century old. I have a mixture of native pecans and grafted varieties. The grafted one are between 20-40 years old. The pecan trees didn't produce for several years, probably due to stress and extensive damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005. Well, this year the bounty is back. We have picked up almost 600 lbs so far. I am stocking my freezer back up with shelled pecans, but I'm also finding new uses.
I found a recipe for using the pecans as a substitute for graham crackers for a graham cracker pie crust and it was absolutely delicious. I've seen several variations and they all sound good, but this is the one I used:
2 cups pecans ground to meal in the food processor, add 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp melted butter, 1 tbs water, 4 tbs brown sugar and whirr in the processor again till the "dough" pulls away from the sides. Press into 9" pie plate and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Delicious for pudding pies or cheesecake fillings. After it was completely cool, I added chocolate pudding for the filling and sprinkled chopped pecans on top. This crust was better than any graham cracker crust.
I have also made pecan butter (substitute for peanut butter). I added a bit of honey to it. I make only a cup or so at a time. Not for canning. Also has very short shelf life due to the oil in the nuts. Needs to be refrigerated if quantity is for more than a day or two.
I added the nuts to Carrot Cake Jam for a conserve.
I learned (but haven't tried yet) that the ground meal can be substitutes for flour or bread crumbs. I'm looking forward to trying pecan crusted pork chops or fish. Or making bread, substituting the pecan meal for whole wheat flour.
We're also exploring making our own oil press to extract the pecan oil from the nuts.
Pretty cool, huh!?!
My dad used to sell the pecans he picked up. He'd bag 'em up in huge burlap bags and deliver them to a pecan company. We might do that at some point, but right now I'm just so happy to replenish my freezer!
Jill in southeast Texas