By Mary Tucker
On Friday, January 6, my Georgia family, Allen and Krista, arrived for the long weekend bringing me a gift of something to do in my spare time and keep me busy for a long while. They brought 20 pounds of pecans which were harvested from the pecan tree on their property. The tree is 85 feet tall and is one of the largest trees in circumference in Atlanta so you can imagine how big the tree is and how many pecans it produces. Allen had ordered a pecan sheller and had it delivered to me.
The best method for shelling pecans is to remove the husks then roast the pecans for 15 to 20 minutes in a 300° oven. After they cool completely, insert a pecan lengthwise into the pecan sheller and press the handle carefully until the shell cracks a little. Remove the nut from the sheller and use a nut pick to get out the nutmeat. So far I have filled a quart canning jar and there are approximately 17 pounds of pecans to bake and shell, enough to keep me going on days when inclement weather keeps me inside.
Pecans are considered a health food as they are low in calories, high in antioxidants and taste good. They can be used in cooking as a topping for sweet potatoes, sprinkled on casseroles, in cookies, cakes, and of course, pecan pie, or just take a handful for a mid-afternoon snack.
Pecans can be substituted in any recipe that calls for walnuts, since they come from the same nut tree family.
Bring on the pecans. ~