Pecan Harvest

pqtexJanuary 5, 2012

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

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Oh, you are so fortunate! We pay a premium here for them at the stores. There are so many ways to use pecans plus eating them out-of-hand. I'm sure you'll figure out all the different ways to use them and not waste any of your harvest. How about some really good sticky buns made with pecans? And some pecan syrup to use on pancakes or french toast? Enjoy every bit of them.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Native Texas pecan is my favorite wood for smoking and grilling.

Had two large trees in our front yard when I was stationed at BAMC in San Antonio back in the 60s.

You are so lucky!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 10:35AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Interesting in selling some??? Or swapping for Hazelnuts or Walnuts? I agree with bcskye....paying a premium here!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 1:49PM
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We'd sell some locally if I knew where to take them. My father used to drive to Liberty, Texas from Beaumont Texas, to sell his excess, but that was decades ago.

I considered putting an ad on Craigslist, but if we try to press our own oil, we'd probably keep them. And since pecans keep so well in the freezer, I'll try to store as many as I can.

I know what you mean about the premium prices...I never bought pecans until after two big hurricanes damaged so many trees and we had no pecans on the remaining trees for several years. Once we used up our supply in the freezer I had to buy them and almost freaked out when I paid $11 or $12 for a pound of shelled pecans. And they didn't taste as good as home grown ones.

Lately I've been seeing information about pelletizing the pecan shells for use in pellet stoves, or having multi-fuel stove that will burn pecan shells. I don't have that type of stove, but I find it interesting to have so many uses for the pecan harvest---every bit of the pecan is useful. The tree for shade and landscape aesthetics, the nut to eat in many ways, the shells for mulch, crafts, or fuel to heat the home. Pecans often "shed" limbs and the wood is excellent for for the BBQ,campfires, or for fireplace/wood stove in the home.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

That is amazing to get that kind of crop. All we have heard is the crops were awful this year due.
I have an email friend in Beaumont. My BIL from Missouri City sent me some pecans. He still paid quite a bit for them. However, they are much nicer than the ones we get in the stores here. Not one is broken. They are shelled and halves.
I am sure you would have no problem selling them to people online if you did not mind the work of packing and mailing them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 12:05PM
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I am amazed at how many uses there are other than just baking in pies, cookies and candy! I have been making pecan butter with chocolate (hubby loves Nutella, so I've dubbed this Pecanatella). Pecan milk tastes better than the vanilla soy milk I normally buy. Yesterday I made a ricotta-type cheese using the nutmeats. I used it in making lasagne tonight. The only thing wrong with it was I didn't make enough of it! I'm still on board to make an oil press to make our own cooking oil. I can see lots of potential for gifts.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 9:27PM
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