Easiest and quickest way to shell pecans.

goneriding(z7 Oklahoma)June 11, 2008

Hello All:

A friend of mine has a pecan orchard. She and I recently cracked the last two feed bags full of pecans, which I brought home. Is there any quick way to get the meat out of the shell? My daughter and I are going to make praline candied pecans for fathers day and looking at this huge bag of pecans makes my finger tips hurt :-).



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Well, your best bet is to get a variety that is loosely packed into the shell to start with. They come out much easier after cracking than the tightly packed varieties. This is not an option after the fact, though, obviously.

My parents have always had some little tools (pencil-sized) that are metal with a small hook on the end. I can't remember what the were originally designed for. They help a lot. Anything to grab those little meats and pull them out.

Now days with the newer varieties and the new cracker/shellers, they can get 80-90% of the shell out during the cracking process. The rest is not too bad by hand.

One other option if you have a couple hundred pounds and don't want to mess with it yourself: There is a place southeast of Shawnee (Earlsboro??) that totally cleans pecans and gives you back the meats. The owners are great people and seem to do a great job. I cannot remember the name of the company (mom and pop and son place) at the moment.

Sorry I can't be of more help. Did you have someone crack them for you or did you do them yourself?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Here in Love County, many people take their pecans to a commercial establishment called The Nutcracker and have their pecans cracked AND blown. I guess the blowing portion of that helps loosen the nutmeat so it is easier to remove?

I just sit and crack them the slow, old-fashioned way by hand using a nutcracker and a pick similar to what Scott described. The pick I use came in a set with seafood forks, so I think it must be intended to use when picking shellfish out of the shell.

I googled and found you one answer, but haven't tried it myself to see if it works. It is the next to the last paragraph on the linked webpage.

Also, some people crack them and boil them before shelling them. I haven't tried that one myself either. You might google and see if you come up with anything for shelling cracked pecans by boiling them.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: How To Easily Shell Pecans

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 4:41AM
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goneriding(z7 Oklahoma)

Thank you very much for the responses. My friend did say to place the cracked pecans into a pillow case and vigorously move them around within the pillow case - so the jar instructions provided by dawn make sense. I will look into the boiling method too, I have heard of others doing this when I googled it. I will let you know which method worked best. These pecans are the native small ones - so they are a bit more difficult than the bigger varieties. Also, my friend did have one of the small tools with a slight hook at the end - she loves them to bits and will not let them out of her sight :-). I am going to do a search online and see if I can find one, maybe Lehmans will have one or something similar.

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:04AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Look what I found by googling! If you call around (to save gas!) you might find a similar nutcracker and pick set at a store close to you!


Here is a link that might be useful: Ace Hardware/Nutcracker and Pick Set

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:18PM
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goneriding(z7 Oklahoma)

Wow that is really cool. I am not sure if we have an Ace Hardware here, I know that there is a True Value, Lowes and Atwoods. Now I am on a mission - $2.50 is a bargain, I may just order it online and use it in the future. Meanwhile, I have been using a dull steak knife and so far it is doing a decent job. It is so hard to get these little boogers to come out without crumbling :-).

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I think you can buy sets like those just in the grocery store. I think that's where I got the last one I bought. Or maybe at Walmart.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 3:02PM
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I know it is too late for this year, but I always buy pecans in southern Oklahoma and pay to have them cracked. It is well worth the 35 or 40 cents a pound to get it done. If you find a good shop there will be very few pecans that have to be removed from the shell.

I like Langraf near Marietta, but this year I used the one in Wilson OK and they were just fine. I was not happy with the work in Ardmore. Since I usually buy about a hundred pounds, I will gladly pay for the convenience of having them cracked.

Also, once they are cracked, you will need to pick them out very quickly. Once I was given a small bag of pecans that had already been cracked but not picked out. After about a hundred small moths hatched out in my house I realized where they were coming from.

After I pick them out, I place them in plastic freezer bags, then put those bags inside a heavy paper grocery bag in the freezer. They are still good for several years when stored this way. I don't need to buy every year, so I normally buy on the high production years when prices are less. (Sorry Scot, don't mean to eat into your business here).

Pecans are my favorite nut and I hate it when I run out.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 5:40PM
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river22(Z6 OK)

Check out this website:
This is a kinetic nutcracker. It cost a little money but if you have pecan trees its worth it. We bought one several years ago and its invaluable. I put up several gallons in the freezer each year and its pretty easy.It works well on native or papershells.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kinetic Nutcracker

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 10:40PM
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A couple of tidbits:

There is so much variability from native pecan tree to native pecan tree that one year you could buy some that crack out well and come out well. The next year you could get some that are very difficult to remove. You could spend twice the time and lose a lot of the meats if you are unlucky in your purchase. You can take the luck out of it by buying a specific "improved" cultivar or a "known" native, or by picking a couple out of the sack (if cracked already) you are thinking of buying and seeing if they fall out easily.

The Langraf people are good people. They would be a great source for regular purchases. In fact, almost all growers that I know that are members of the association are great folk.

Once dried to the point of not molding, keep your pecans frozen or refrigerated to make them last. They will not keep in room temperature more than a few weeks before losing color and some taste once cracked.

A few of the common, best tasting and shelling varieties are Kanza, Caddo, Sioux, and Pawnee. There are many others. Caddo happens to keep a long time also. You might look for these if you buy from growers. The old traditional Stuart is considered by many to be the worst tasting and most difficult to shell of all commonly grown varieties these days. Even those are still pretty good IMO.

This will be a BAD pecan year in southern Oklahoma and much of Texas. This is because last year was so good. The quality should be good for what you can find though. I expect the wholesale price to be up from about $.75 last year to likely (hopefully) over $1.00 this year. In northern Oklahoma and western Texas, the crop may be pretty good since we lost most, if not all, of ours to the Easter freeze last yeat.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 12:59AM
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Scot, I have a relative that is a grower, so I buy from him but I just take them elsewhere to be cracked. I bought last year so I will not purchase this year. I have a daughter that lives in Utah and thinks Oklahoma pecans are the best Christmas present ever. My source doesn't sell until January so she didn't get any this year. I am sure she will raid my freezer when she comes.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 1:59AM
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My DH cracked close to 200 pds this yr. We sell them along with hickorynuts and black walnuts. He does all the cracking by hand. He uses a Rocket pecan cracker. It has a long handle on it and ajust to the size pecan. They crack better when the shell is moist. If they get to dry the shell flys to pieces. You can soak them in a bucket of water over night then drain it. It really does help. Then lay the pecans on cookie sheets or in a pillowslip or somekind of thin bag that can be hung so it can get air through it till they are dry. When you eat one and it has a good crunch to it then it should be dry enough to freeze...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 1:19PM
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We have had really good service from the place on Highway 9 West Just across the river South of Norman. We have them crack and blow and you get the pecans back in 2 batches. The first batch just about cleans itself by dumping them out on the table. Most of the pecans are loose and full and just require picking them up. The second batch has the ends and smaller pieces and there is a bit of work to get the ends and pieces out. It goes pretty quickly with a small pick and hand cracker.

I usually bring home a large sack of pecans from my cousin in Mississippi whose native tree has lots of pecans but with a very hard shell. The vendor there in Mississippi had very poor luck in dealing with those pecans but the folks here on Highway 9 did a wonderful job with them. Needless to say, most of her pecans go to waste because they are too hard to deal with by hand.

I suppose some people feel there is a badge of courage in cracking your own by hand, but for me, it is an unneccesary chore that just takes time from other pursuits. I go for the quick and easy way of letting the commercial outfit do the cracking and blowing and then in less than 2 hours I have well over 50 lbs cleaned and put away and the hulls deposited in the blueberry bushes.

Now, if I can just get my 2 little trees to get busy and make some pecans for me. We got zero this year so maybe 2009 will be the year for them. I have picked up the branches and disposed of all that the twig beetles pruned for me so maybe those guys are gone from this area.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 9:46AM
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I use an Inertia Nutcracker by Texas Nut Sheller.
It's very easy to use 23.99 plus 15.00 s/h.
here is the web address:


    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:06PM
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