Monday, December 7, 2009

World's Smallest Pecans

We are convinced that our neighborhood was once a pecan orchard. There are very large, old trees in almost every yard. I can see them out of every window in my house. Perhaps there was once a pecan tree give-away program. Most people are too busy to pick them up and leave them but just a few minutes on three separate occassions Scott and I picked up these tiny nuggets of Southern delight.
Pecans require cross pollination so there are different nuts in every orchard. They also bear strong bi-annually. Some years we sell, some years we save all we collect. We are keeping all we gather this year. No one wants these small nuts. They are hell to crack. It must be done by hand; no taking them off to Carolina Feed and Grain for the automatic cracker as they defie modern machinery slipping through and coming out the other side whole. It takes time and patience to tease them out. It's the patience part that gets me. I am highly sensitized to this chore. It was mine for many years using every primitive device invented. My personal favorite to hate was the cast iron figure of a squirrel. The nut was placed in his jaw and the tail was the lever used for cracking. I squashed more than I cracked. There is so much oil in pecans that they become mush if pressed too hard. Combined with the bitter pith they are oh so bad. But, if one can get past the obstacles of gathering, cracking, and picking out the nuts these tiny meats are the tastiest of them all.

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