February 21, 2021

All Those Pecans

Last fall, we collected our biggest pecan harvest ever.

One afternoon's picking.

In years past, we would shell our pecans by hand. This year, we found a little country store that offers pecan shelling for 40 cents per pound. 

Shells cracked.

We have to separate the shells from the meats by hand, but it makes a nice activity in the evening while watching a DVD. According to the folks at the store, it was an abundant pecan year for everybody. 

Now that we have such an abundance, I've been experimenting with ways to use them. When I only have a small amount of something, I tend to want to ration it, or save it for special occasions. With a large supply, however, I need to get in the habit of using them. Part of my appropriate self-sufficiency is building menus around what we are growing and harvesting. 

So, what have I been doing with them? Here's one we like—pecan meal pancakes.

Pecan meal pancakes

To make the meal, I grind the pecans in my blender. By experimenting, I found that substituting half the flour in any pancake recipe with pecan meal makes a delicious pancake with a good texture.

Chopped, pecans are good as a salad topper.

Carrot, raisin, and chopped pecan salad.

I also dug out an heirloom recipe of my great-grandmother's. These were a traditional Christmas cookie at my grandmother's house, and my mother made them sometimes as well. To me, they taste like Christmas!

Butterscotch Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans - cut, not chopped 

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Add rest of ingredients. Dough is very soft. Bake at 350°F (180°C) till brown. Yield: easily 4 dozen or more. 

These are very sweet, at least much sweeter than I'm used to these days. I could try cutting the sugar, but I think next time I'll increase the pecans. The recipes calls for the pecans to be cut, not chopped, which I'm guessing is for a specific texture. You may notice from the picture that I didn't cut them, but used whole halves. Next time I'll cut/chop them and increase the amount to use the cookie dough to hold them together. Besides putting more pecans in every bite, that will temper the sweetness some. 

So there are my recent pecan experiments, to add to my chocolate pecan bars and lacto-fermented apples & cranberries (which contains pecans.) The next time I make a dessert, I'm going to make a pecan meal crust for a pie. And I think somewhere I have a recipe for butterscotch brownies (blondies) that I'll have to try one of these days.

Pecans are rich in oil, and so the shelled nut meats are best stored in the freezer. I've filled four gallon bags with them so far, and still have a bunch to go. A nice addition to our diet. 

All Those Pecans © February 2021


Michelle said...

What a glorious abundance!

Gorges Smythe said...

Now if there was some store in my area that shelled walnuts! ;-)

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

That's wonderful. My husband used to have a co-worker who would share a large bag of his home grown walnuts with us. I'd shell all winter and freeze. I used to make a chocolate pecan pie, but haven't in years. Pecans go well in a homemade granola bar recipe.

Boud said...

I agree that grinding them for meal, or finer for flour, is a great idea. I grind all kinds of nuts and pulse food in my coffee grinder and just use them as flour. You can make a great crumble topping using nut flour, gluten free for people for whom that's an issue.

Rosalea said...

What an abundance of deliciousness!

Leigh said...

Michelle, I'm very thankful for it. :)

Gorges, walnuts! They definitely need help for shelling. I really like walnuts, but we don't have any walnut trees nearby.

Kristina, chocolate pecan pie sounds good! Once in a rare while I make a gooey Pecan pic. Granola and granola bars is a good idea too.

Boud, I hadn't thought about using my coffee grinder. Maybe because it's so small, but that's a good idea! Very fun to be adding pecan meal to almost everything. :)

Rosalea, I agree!

Retired Knitter said...

I love nuts of all kinds. In fact my chocolate chip cookies with nuts really should be called walnut cookies with chocolate chips! And nuts are usually pretty expensive - so this abundance you have is especially grand.

Ed said...

My grandparents loved nothing better than to shell walnuts from our tree when they visited and they always left us with some. After my wife and I moved to our current house with a walnut tree, I thought it would be great to relive that memory by shelling the walnuts. We did it one year and decided we would just buy our walnuts from the grocery store as long as they are available. But if the world goes to crap tomorrow, I guess we can spend those long dark hours with no electricity and internet shelling walnuts again.

Mama Pea said...

Suffering severe pecan envy here! I do love pecans, but like all nuts, they're hard on the budget. I make my carrot/raisin/pecan salad which is just like yours except with a "stingy" amount of pecans! We have to buy all our nuts, but find that buying in bulk and storing in the freezer helps economically. Yep, very jealous of all those beautiful pecans. Enjoy!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Its wonderful to have pecans on hand for whenever you want to use them. I grew up with an abundance of pecans and thought nothing of using a pint or a quart of them for something. When you have to buy them at retail prices, you think about that kind of thing long and hard. Good for you.

Rain said...

Wow...look at all of those pecans! The cookies look delicious! :)

Leigh said...

RT, it's been so long since I bought nuts that I've lost track of the prices. Usually, just not in my budget. 2020's surplus is a real treat! (At least something good came out of 2020, lol)

Ed, LOL. Walnuts are hard work! I've thought about planting a walnut tree, but have to admit I'm kinda spoiled by all our pecan trees.

Mama Pea, if it wasn't for our own trees, we'd never have nuts. I planted some hazelnuts, but made the mistake of transplanting them twice. They rebelled at that and died. I also have a chestnut planted, but it refuses to grow. I should probably try to plant more pecans, since most of ours are quite old.

Sue, it's easy to get spoiled, isn't it?! Sadly, some years we barely get a small bucketful. Who knows what this year will bring?

Rain, thanks! Quite a treat to get such a harvest.

Ed said...

If I had a pecan tree, I certainly wouldn't bother with walnuts!

Cederq said...

The acreage I had in Alabama in years past had some very tall Pecans trees and like you some years bust, some booming! When the trees were booming the in laws came down and helped harvest and then took some home with them. My ex mother in law could bake some tasty down home Alabama treats!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I am jealous Leigh. Pecans are a rare treat.

Of course, my version pecan always seems to involve the word "Praline", which unfortunately involves copious amounts of sugar. But oh, so good!

Leigh said...

Ed, we had an almond tree for a number of years, but found them hard to crack as well. It never really produced well, so I'm glad we've got the pecans.

Cederq, love those booming years! Did you get any of those recipes?

TB. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of pralines. Too sweet! So is pecan pie, but every now and then I'll indulge in one of those. :)

tpals said...

Those sure look yummy. I love nuts, especially pecans but they don't love me anymore and I've had to give them up. So please eat some for me. :)

Renee Nefe said...

oooh I love pecans! I usually just snack on them. I've also made the pretzel turtle candy...yum. I tried a pecan waffle at Waffle House, but I wasn't impressed...probably the way they did it. :-/

wyomingheart said...

Those waffles look excellent! Have you tried making a pizza crust with half pecan flour? Sure are happy that you have abundant nuts this year! We are hoping to get our chestnut orchard in this year, and praying the walnut trees have a crop this year. Nuts are a very powerful boost of protein, and I always carry a small baggie in my pocket, when I have an all day project...a few will stop the hunger nearly immediately! Great post, Leigh! How are the babies doing?

Leigh said...

Tpals, I'm sorry to hear that! No fun when food doesn't like us.

Renee, they do make an excellent snack. :) I've never tried any kind of turtle candy, although I love to eat them!

Wyomingheart, no, I haven't tried them in pizza crust yet! On the other hand, Dan might not appreciate me messing with pizza. It's sacred, you know, lol

Babies are doing great! The little buck is keeping up with the twins now, although they aren't terribly impressed with him. :)

A chestnut orchard sounds great! I have one chestnut tree that refuses to grow. Maybe this year.

Cockeyed Jo said...

I like using pecan meal to bread fish in before frying. There are so many uses for it. I don't remember how many pecan trees you have but on my first homestead we had over twenty pecan trees on the back acre. Every year we could pick five footlockers full and still have them on the ground. Next year, our two pecan trees should start nutting. I can't wait.

daisy g said...

What a gold mine!
Pecans are without a doubt, my favorite nut. What a great idea to add extra nutrition to the pancakes by making pecan meal!

Leigh said...

Jo, that's a lot of pecan trees! We have six, although one never seems to produce well. And we've never gotten a harvest like this (an excellent harvest every 12 years (?). I know you're looking forward to harvesting yours!

Daisy, they make a great favorite!

M.K. said...

Way over here on coastal NC, we had a HUGE pecan year too, just as you said. This happened to us also, about 3 or 4 years ago. We were unable to gather them all (sadly), but we got as many as I felt I could process. I just started cracking and picking them last week, after they'd cured over winter. My husband used to do this job, but a few years ago, he discovered he is allergic to pecans (!!!) Apparently this can happen from our moving onto property with 17 pecan trees. I feel bad for him. All those recipes look so delicious!!

Leigh said...

M.K., allergic to pecans! Oh, that is too bad. I know allergies can develop at any time in life and that tree nuts are a common allergen. It's such a shame when you have all those pecan trees!