Friday, January 4, 2013

One of my favorite "gifts" from Christmas

One of my favorite things to bring home with me after visiting our family in Mississippi is pecans! When we were living in Korea, I missed things from my parents' garden that they'd always share with us on our trips home. You can't really keep corn and peas frozen across continents like you can across state lines. But, Mom did find a way to share pecans with us for those two years. I went to the post office one day to retrieve a Priority Package and was delighted to discover it was filled to capacity with pecans they'd picked up, had cracked and picked out, then shipped to us! How awesome those surprises were!

Pecans... Yum... I use them in baking. I roast them. I eat them by themselves. I love having them as a staple in my pantry. They don't last long though because we all love eating them by themselves. I've been known to walk to the freezer, grab a handful and enjoy them as a snack. G-Dub too. The only thing I don't like about pecans is buying them in the store. Ack... seriously? Why so expensive? And, yuck... not fresh.

Generations old pecan trees on family property to the rescue! Well, these particular trees are actually on the property of The Old House Place which was my grandparent's property. For the last thirty years, that portion of the family land remained in the family, owned by my uncle. A few years ago, he sold his half of the land, in turn selling the old home place. :( Much of the twenty five acres that were once his was divided and sold as home plots. A few new houses have popped up forever changing the landscape as I've known it all my life. For some {fortunate} reason, 'the old house place' as Mom calls it, has never sold. The pecans fall to the ground unclaimed by anyone. That's where my dad steps in and asks the person who owns the property if he can have them. The answer has been always been yes.

During the past few months in phone calls to my parents, Dad has been talking about this year's pecan crop. He'd let me know if he'd found any or if any of the family trees had any on them. He'd talk about "putting an order in" with a friend who wasn't going to use the pecans from her trees. When we arrived to their house just before Christmas, I passed three five gallon buckets almost full of freshly cracked pecans. Dad said, "I've got a job for you while you're here!" I gladly accepted that job! We sat around and visited while picking out pecans. They pick them from the ground, then take them to a local pecan place (where they sell pecans. Or you can bring your own in and they'll run them through their contraptions to crack them for a small fee.) All you have to do is pick them out of their shells. I tried to snap a photo, but it was dark in the room and I had my iPad, so the photo is ick, but you can sort of tell what we started with.
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When we finished, we had six gallon sized ziploc bags full of pecan halves and pieces.

A few days after Christmas, Dad said he was going up to gather a few pecans to feed the squirrels. He came back and told me that they were plenty still up there if I wanted to pick up some more. Um, are you kidding? Sure! So, he and I went up there with two five gallon buckets and spent some time gathering pecans off the ground.
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We had a little help, but for the most part, we did it the old fashioned way since these were the last of the harvest and you had to watch to make sure you were getting good pecans, not ones that the birds had pecked or that had began to rot.
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When I got out of bed the next morning, I wanted to cry my thighs hurt so bad from the bending and gathering. It was all worth it in the end though. I came home with twelve gallon sized bags full of fresh pecans! I had to rearrange some things in my freezer to make room for them all! I can't wait to start using some in the kitchen. Or just eating them! I need to go weigh a bag so I can see what a treasure I truly have. At $8 a pound that the store has been selling them, my freezer is probably full of a small pecan fortune!

5 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I can only imagine what that would have cost at the store. Yuck!

    What a wonderful treasure! So glad you've got a stash of pecans to enjoy!

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  2. Very interesting, I don't think that I have ever seen pecans whole, they don't grow well around here. What a great stash!

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  3. Gwen,

    That is awesome all those pecans to enjoy and fresh ones too.
    That is great that your parents let you know they are ready to go and pick from.

    I have never seen pecans other then in the store.

    kathy

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  4. I was going to say - with the cost of pecans these days, that was a blessing!

    And a great workout! ;)

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  5. What a great story! Enjoy your pecans?

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