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.
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.|
- 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.
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