November 7, 2020

Pecans Galore!

We're having our best pecan harvest ever, although it started out pretty ordinary.

Pecans started dropping in late September/early October. Every day we'd scour under the trees for windfall.

I picked up a pocketful here and a handful there, and over the weeks managed to find and collect quite a few.

By weighing them in batches I learned that a 5-gallon bucket holds about 20 pounds of unshelled pecans.

Then came tropical storm Zeta. We only got about 2.6 inches of rain, but the winds were so bad we kept looking for tornadoes. After it was over Dan counted five new downed pine trees in our woods. The winds also knocked down a lot of leaves.

And! A ton of pecans! 

Here's what Dan and I picked up in one afternoon.

And we're still picking them up! Every day more drop. The best harvest we've ever had.

In fact, this year I need to find someone who shells them. It's too many to do by hand. 


Michelle said...

That's my kind of "windfall"! I love pecans; so tasty and much easier to shell than walnuts. But I've never lived where they grow, and they are expensive to buy. When I find a good deal, I buy as much as I can afford and put them in my freezer. Enjoy!!!

daisy g said...

Wow! I guess that's the silver lining to the storm, huh? I wish we had room for a pecan tree. It's my favorite tree nut.

Enjoy your harvest!

Leigh said...

Michelle, I guess your climate wouldn't support pecan trees(?) Yes, easy shelling makes them a real plus! So does the flavor.

Daisy, Yes! It was (is). Really thankful for this year's harvest.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

That is an impressive harvest!

Other than eating them and pecan pie, what else does one do with pecans?

GiantsDanceFarm said...

Oh yum! I'm planning on buying a few pecan trees next year. We're on the far upper edge of their growing range here in Northern Michigan, but I found a variety that grows in zone 5a where we are. The challenge will be that they are supposed to be planted with multiple different varieties, so we'll see.

We have a few black walnut trees here which produce really well, though this year I left them all to the squirrels and bears. We dug up all of our hazelnut "trees" (more like tall weedy bushes) earlier this year because they'd gotten so out of control and in 8 years living here I never beat the bears to a single nut.

We lost my favorite tree I've EVER lived with - an English (sometimes called "Persian") walnut in a storm a few years ago. It was such a GLORIOUSLY beautiful, HUGE tree, I suspect it was just near the end o it's lifespan. There are a few suckers growing from the trunk, but I'm not sure they'll ever bear fruit.

English walnut trees grow very differently than Black walnut trees, typically with multiple more curved branches vs the Black walnut's very straight trunk. So the Black walnuts are super for their wood and produce nuts as a bonus - though the nuts are INCREDIBLY SUPER hard to shell - tough enough that many people here with paved driveways remove the outer husks by driving over the nuts with their cars which doesn't affect the nuts at all. But the English ones are grown for the nuts with the wood used for more decorative wood projects like turned bowls vs lumber that the Black walnut is prized for.

But the English walnuts are much more pecan-like than the Black walnuts. Their nuts are much easier to husk, then the shell is easier to crack and the nuts are MUCH sweeter.

Mike Yukon said...

That's a bunch of nuts! What are you going to bake with them?
Oh, do you have an automatic sheller other than Dan? :-)

Boud said...

What a haul! I guess the squirrels didn't get them. Unlike my experience with a greatly producing hazelnut tree from which I never got one nut. Squirrels ate them green. When you see how squirrels can also get right into black walnuts you realize those tiny jaws are steely.

We have a few black walnuts nearby which I use to make ink and dye. I let the squirrels open them and I collect windfalls.

Meredith said...

Do you have any suggestions for pecan growing guides? I haven’t been able to find much, but my dad has a mature pecan tree that just doesn’t produce and we do live in a good climate for them. We’ve checked with the local extension office and still haven’t gotten any good help.

Renee Nefe said...

Awesome and yummy!

Joy said...

ha ha, blessings from above!!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Leigh, see if you can find someone to crack them for you. They are then very easy to shell. Check at feed stores, farmers' co-ops, hardware stores, etc. Happy to hear that you are having a good crop of pecans. Shell them and keep them in the freezer and they'll be fresh until you need them.

wyomingheart said...

Great haul for you and Dan, Leigh! My brother in law has a pecan farm in Valdosta Ga. We get a lot of pecans from him, and that is what we call therapy work on those cold windy days. We sip coffee, and crack and pick for a couple of hours every day, and before you know it, we have fifty pounds in the freezer! I am very happy for you... nothing like a batch of glazed pecans on a winters night!

Leigh said...

TB, they make great snacks, are yummy in granola, and I substitute them for almonds in spinach/cranberry salad. I don't usually put nuts in cookies or sweet breads, but this cookie recipe calls for pecan meal and is dynamite. I like pecan meal in pancakes too.

Shelley, I've heard there are some hardy varieties. I hope they do well for you! We used to have a black walnut, so I know exactly what you're talking about! Never had an English walnut, although after pecans, that's my favorite nut. That's so sad that you lost your one tree!

Mike, lol, right now, that's about it. But I'm hoping to find someone who shells them. We know of one place; just have to see if they're still around. It would be nice to splurge and have it done for us.

Boud, oh, the squirrels got a lot! Every year they pelt us with half eaten pecans! But this was such a good year and thanks to the wind, we got most of them.

Meredith, no, I don't! Sorry! Ours were here when we bought the place. Have you checked online? There are some really good resources out there.

Renee, :)

Joy, literally! LOL

Sue, yes, that's the plan. I'll have to ask at our feed store, they may know someone. It would be much faster to have it done and store them in the freezer, like you say.

Wyomingheart, wow! That's a lot of shelling! But once a good routine is set up, it makes a difference. I love the idea of glazed pecans!

Dawn said...

I would love to be able to grow pecans they are my all time favourite, well done on your fantastic harvest

Leigh said...

Dawn, thanks! I suppose I'm fortunate in that I've never actually had to try to prorate pecans. We are letting some of the volunteer seedlings establish themselves, however, as future replacements.

Goatldi said...

Color me jealous Lol

I think it’s interesting when we were first married Geoffrey‘s dad did a lot of cotton business for American thread he would travel to Georgia and other southern states. And every year the big treat from the Georgia mill was to get this huge container of pecans delivered to them at Christmas. How we looked forward to that. I’m not sure if the can I think I could probably do a pecan tree where I am but I it’s my understanding that they take a long time to mature is that correct or am I living in a fools paradise?

You must’ve gotten 100 pounds of pecans lady and they freeze really well and it is my favorite nut.

Last Friday when I was in Fresno picking up Genna I went out to the SPCA where are used to work and picked up 12 pounds of Chandler walnuts in the shell from a friend who bought some property that had the trees it also had a horse that’s 32 years old that was left behind and they knew it was going to be. So she and her hubby sell unshelled and shelled walnuts use the proceeds from them to help keep up the old horse vet bills and that type of thing the horse is quite the character. Looking forward to the chandlers because I don’t do well with other walnuts. I can eat the Chandler raw where I can’t eat the more common ones that we find us a couple of different varieties I believe because the acidity level? I do remember we discussed it once on Mama Peas blog.

Regardless if you’ve got too many and you can’t keep them you got my address😂

Rosalea said...

Wow! That is an heck-of-a-lot of pecans! We used to have buckets full of walnuts like that from the Black Walnut trees around our old yard. They were a beast to shell, and often there wasn't much meat in them. Are those from just one tree? Are your squirrels MIA?

Florida Farm Girl said...

Leigh, just another quick note. You can have them cracked and put them in the freezer until such time as you get around to shelling them. Shelling pecans is a good activity for a cold or rainy winter day or evening. Besides, they'll be just fine for two or three months not being frozen.

Ed said...

I have always wished I lived near some edible nut trees like pecans. We have black walnuts and they are edible but nowhere near as good as the english walnut I can buy so cheaply by the pound in the grocery store. If acorns ever become edible and worth money selling, I might be rich.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I think most of the "good" trees take a long time to mature. When we first moved here, I ruled out sugar maples because they would take several decades before we could get a harvest. Now I wish I had!

I've never heard of Chandler walnuts, just the blacks and English. Interesting!

Rosalea, my experience with black walnuts is the same. The other negative about them is that so many things don't grow well near them. I learned that when we put in a garden near one years ago.

We have about six or seven pecan trees currently, so no, they aren't all from one tree. What's interesting, is that the trees seem to produce differently, both in terms of number and size of pecans.

We still have squirrels! But I have to admit that we have less than we used to. I suspect Meowy, our squirrel catcher, is partially responsible for that.

Sue, the freezer is out because it's already stuffed full! But if we can get these shelled, I'll find room somehow. :)

Ed, nice that you can get English walnuts cheap! I agree they're tastier than the black walnuts.

One year I followed the directions for leaching acorns to make meal. It was a lot of work, and mine were still too bitter to enjoy. I suspect different species of acorns pass edibility in different ways.

LindaG said...

Congratulations! I love fresh pecans.
Sadly, what with hurricanes and tornadoes we won't be having any this year.
Praise God for your bounty. Enjoy. Be safe and God bless.

Henny Penny said...

That is amazing! About 20 years ago I was helping my mother clean her yard and pulled up two little pecan trees, with the pecan still attached. I brought them home and planted them on the hill above the pond. So far, no pecans and the trees do not look healthy. I need to do something to help them. It would tickle me to death to find a pecan on one of the trees. You are so good at growing so many things.

Leigh said...

Linda, gosh, it's because of Zeta's fierce winds that we have so many. I'm sorry your experience was the opposite!

Henny, aw, that's sad about the little pecan trees. I've tried to transplant them out of the garden and to a better place for trees, but those have never survived. I have a small one in a pot I'll try to transplant soon. We'll see!

Cockeyed Jo said...

We're about 2 years off from having a walnut and pecan harvest. Our trees are far too young. Yours look great though. Any problem with tent worms this year?

Leigh said...

Jo, good for you for getting some planted early. It's worth the wait!

We actually had fewer tent worms this year than we've had before. Like maybe only two or three tents compared to the typical ten to twenty. We had them on our oldest blueberry bush for the first time. I was able to take care of those. For the ones in the pecan trees I'd need a jet pack.

Rosalea said...

Ditto on learning about Black Walnuts by planting a garden near them years ago! Hence my addiction to raised beds, as that was the only way to go in that situation. It was an ongoing battle to keep the tree's detritus cleaned up. They are the messiest trees going, dropping something in every season of the year! They are beautiful, but I battled them so long...Do pecan trees have 'mast' years as some nut trees do?

Rain said...

Holy pecans Leigh! Wow...that really is quite a haul! I showed the photo to Alex and he immediately had dreams of daily pecan pies lol!

Kelly said...

Look at all those pecans!!! I'm impressed.... and a little jealous.

Nancy In Boise said...

Wow lucky you! I've always like pecans a lot better than walnuts since they can be a little bit bitter. The first time I made homemade chocolate chip cookies with pecans my kids went these are so good! Ironically I don't really care for pecan pie I think it's just the filling is a little too gooey. Congrats!

Leigh said...

Rosalea, ah, that's interesting about the raised beds. I'm guessing it works!(?)

I reckon they do have mast years, and this must be one of them. And occasionally, they produce hardly any at all, although perhaps that reality is that the squirrels get most of them!

Rain, oh my, I adore pecan pie. I don't make them very often because they are so rich. But I have some organic corn syrup somewhere in the pantry, so may this is the year!

Kelly, I have to admit I'm thrilled. I suppose next year we'll hardly get any. :)

Nancy, yes, pecan pie is gooey! That's why I can't eat much of it, but I love it nonetheless.

Retired Knitter said...

Wow, I don't think I have ever seen so many nuts! Wonderful.

Unknown said...

Unless storage space is a problem, why not leave a lot of them in the shell and crack in batches all winter long? They'll store much longer without going rancid if left in the shell. Before electricity, one of the things families used to do on long winter nights was to sit by the fire and tell stories, read to each other, etc while cracking nuts. What a lovely picture!

Leigh said...

RT, me neither! :)

Unknown, that's pretty much how we've done it in the past, or in the freezer if I have room (they tend to have some sort of little worm). We've never gotten through a smaller batch, however, so I'm not sure we'd make it through all these, lol.

Cockeyed Jo said...

Leigh, FYI on my old homestead we had 22 old growth pecan trees. We'd send friends and families home with footlockers full of nuts. The tent worms did their damage, but there was plenty to go around. Jet pack, huh? What a novel idea. We just used long poles and made sure the chickens were around to feast. There was at least 15' of tree left for the worms to munch on. I do the same thing here, but I was smart and stopped the growth by loping off the lead trunks at 10' So much easier to get at the worms.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Leigh, if you're worried about how to use all those pecans, let me know and I'll fix you up with a great recipe for spiced nuts. You'll want to eat them by the handful.

Leigh said...

Jo, chickens make some of the best pest control.

Sue, I'd love your recipe for spiced nuts. In the past, we've gotten so few that I've tended to be stingy with them. This year I can splurge!

Anonymous said...

Fertilizer works wonders our trees didn’t produce for years fertilized them and now we have 10 5 gallon buckets so far and counting