Monday, October 29, 2012

Praline or Pie?

There's very little that's better than a delicious Louisiana pecan.  That means someone has to go out and pick pecans and yesterday that someone was ME. 

I am sore from bending, squatting, and kneeling.  Rich and I decided that we'd go to my parents' old place and pick a few.  

We stopped on our way home from the cemetery last week and noticed that there were many small pecans on the ground.  One tree in particular has tiny pecans that are full, oily and delicious.  We started picking under that tree.

Unfortunately, when the pecans are so small, it takes many, many pecans to fill a bucket.  We filled a five-gallon bucket!  But these little nuts are going to make a wonderful pie around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Of course, to get them into a pie, someone has to shell them.  That's been Richard's job so far.  He began shelling pecans last week and after three nights of shelling, he has enough for perhaps three pies.  Since I generally make three pies for each holiday, we'll need more if we hope to have pralines.  And, let's not forget pecan cake.....that is a pretty good treat, too.

I suppose I'll have to find some time to pitch in and help with the shelling.  At least Richard does the cracking.  He has a handy little gadget that makes it easy enough.  It can be adjusted for the different sizes of nuts so that the big ones are squashed to crumbs and the small pecans break.  Imagine trying to crack those little ones with your hands...not easy.

I wanted to add a tip for cleaning the pecans.  If you don't pick out the small pieces of  hull from the meat, it gives your dish a bitter taste.  Although you can use a toothpick or small knife, I just put the shelled pecans in a zip-top baggie and shake it hard.  

The hull pieces fall off the pecan meat and sink to the bottom of the baggie.  I transfer the pecans to a clean baggie before putting them in the freezer; just be careful separating the small pieces from the hull pieces.   

For recipes for an easy pecan pie and one for pralines, click on the recipes tab above or here.  I hope you have ample opportunity to taste Louisiana pecans and to use them in your favorite recipe.


Anonymous said...

Oh, pecan pie! My pictures so I can drool!

lambs and ivy designs said...

Oh my oh my....I can just "taste" your pies and pralines!!!

We have a big pecan tree that you can not get your arms around, but the critters have beaten me to them this year.

And if I ever do get any pecans I will use your handy tip for cleaning them!!!