Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Kind of DIY Project

They don't call this Pecan Place for nothing.  We had a nightmare of a pecan crop last year-well, for us-make that me-since dealing with pecans seems to be one of my jobs.  So, the story was that neither of us had any idea what to expect from a crop of pecans and we certainly weren't expecting the heavy crop we got.  We had no idea how they grow, when they fall, when they're ready to use, how long they keep, or anything, so we were totally unprepared.  Neither of us know how to do anything in the kitchen besides surf the internet and use it as a paint station on rainy or cold days, so when they fell we gave boxes and boxes of pecans to family, friends, and co-workers, and let anyone in town come into the yard to pick as many as they wanted just so they wouldn't go to waste.  At the end of the winter, we still had a 33 gallon trash barrel full to the brim with them and they molded before summer was over.  It was upsetting that they went to waste.

I learned all kinds of things about pecans including how to tell by the sound of the shell whether they're good or not, and that there are at least 5 or more kinds of pecans growing on our lot and that they all have a different flavor.  I figured I'd have a plan worked out for how to deal with them next time we had pecans.  They only produce every 3 or 4 years, right?  Plenty of time to come up with the plan. Until........

We had almost a full crop of them again this year!  7 of the 8 trees produced and I'll have to say they are almost as abundant as they were last year.  We've got pecans out the wazzoo and I've only gotten one section of the yard picked up.  The front and side yard haven't even been started and it's been so cold that they're frosted into the grass.  The ones that are still out there on the lawn are delicious though and I'll have to get them picked up or there will be little trees sprouting up all over the place in the spring.  Oh, my!

I did make some progress though.  Yesterday, I took about 125 lbs of them to a place that cracks and shells pecans.  About a half hour later, I left with 25-30 pounds of cracked pecans, ready to do "whatever" with.  So, last night I decided to start removing the nuts from the bits of shell and hull and picking out anything that didn't look like something you'd want to eat.

The lady at the processing place said to take them out of the plastic bags they put them in and spread them out on a sheet to keep them from molding.  Oh crap!  They're still going to mold???  So I decided I'd roast them and get them dried out so they can be stored until I get them ready to turn into-well, something else. 

Don't they look yummy???  Now if I could just keep Donnie out of them! :)

So, I'll be starting a new kind of DIY project-I believe I'm going to learn how to cook!

I have some thoughts on some different flavors of seasoned, spiced, and candied pecans I'd like to try.  I know what yummy tastes like and what different ingredients taste like, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how to combine them to get them to taste like the yummy in my mind.  Right?  Haha.

I'll let ya know.  :)


  1. Hey Christie! Wow! I love pecans. I do a Sweet Spicy Glazed pecan that's great. I've had cinnamon pecans. I love to make Pecan Pies, Kentucky Derby Pies, little Pecan Tarts. Did you know once you get them dried out, you can freeze them and they'll stay fresh a long time that way. I buy pounds and pounds of them to keep in my freezer. Oh by the way...tomorrow I'll venture into my paint and stain stash and tell you the color of Minwax Gel stain that I used and the process which is simple!! I'll email that to you. Have fun with the pecans. It's a new adventure. If you learn to cook, turn that place into a Bed and Breakfast. That's something I would ADORE doing!

  2. Wow, that's a lot of pecans! I know nothing about pecans, and they don't grow where I live. I know they are expensive, so find a way to make some money off them!


  3. Oh my goodness that looks delicious!!!! Nothing is better than fresh pecans. You can tell too cause the old ones taste bitter.

  4. Rita, thanks for the tip. Yes, I got into Donnie's collection and pulled a vintage scale down from on top of the cabinets and weighed out one pound increments and put them in bags in the freezer. I still have 3 full plastic grocery bags to go that I think I'll probably roast tomorrow.

    Donnie thinks he's died and gone to heaven since we haven't had a single frozen pizza this week! I haven't really been "cooking" since I've been dealing with pecans and cleaning out and organizing the kitchen cabinets so the room can actually function as a kitchen, but we've had stews and sandwiches and salads-something that hasn't happened since Tammy moved to her place. But, when the day comes, everything's all in a logical manner now and there are groceries in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets. Seems like someone else's kitchen-not ours! AND there's no more tools, hardware bins, or cleaning supplies in the kitchen anymore. Can ya tell I'm excited??? It's always been "Donnie's kitchen" and while it may still look like his kitchen, it MINE now!

    Hi Pam, yep, finding a way to turn them into a product is what started the "learning to cook" thing. We're blessed with free money that falls right out of the trees. All I have to do is go out in the yard and pick it up. That and find some way to sell it. People advertise "pecans for sale" in the paper usually, but I'd like to turn them into something more than just a baking product. Everyone around here makes pies out of them, so I'd like to play with offering something different and see they sell. If not, I'll do what everyone else does and run an ad I guess!

    Our whole town and much of the surrounding area is loaded with pecan trees. Rumor has it that the the original family of our house had a hundred acres of pecans trees that they bought in from Texas sometime in the 1800s. I guess that would explain why everyone in Trenton has pecan trees in their yards since the original family was one of the founding families of the town. I swear one of the trees in the back yard has to be more than a century old. It's 16' around and grow big fat pecans. The ones in the pic are from that tree.

    Anyway, it seems that just perhaps money does grow on trees-or at least I hope so. :)

    Hi Anna, thanks for popping in! I got your new blog site set up on my side bar so we can all keep track of you again. Looking forward to spring!

  5. Those cookies and the pecans look yummy

  6. oh and I believe that you featured me a few years ago from my Rate my space room, if this was you thanks so much!

  7. Christie, the email I sent you was returned. So here's the simple way I use gel stain to age things. I use Minwax Gel Stain from Lowes in Walnut oolor. I use a lint free soft cloth to put it on the thoroughly cleaned item. The first coat isn't as easy to manipulate. Give it time to dry fairly well, then proceed with the next coat of gel stain and work it to give the appearance you desire. I always have an extra clean cloth to dab it off if necessary. There really is no way you can go wrong with this stuff. You have to allow alot of time for it to dry completely. It remains tacky for a week or more depending on the humidity. Just be'll dry completely and then be very durable. Good luck and if you have questions, just ask. So I don't have your email anymore, and I can't START pm's on the GD board. I can respond but not start them. I don't know what the problem is with that....but anyway, that's my issue with communication.

  8. Hi Trixie! Magnaverde from the HGTV's General Decorating message board does a fun little "award" thing at the end of each year and we all get to review some of the rooms and such that he thought noteworthy throughout the year. That year, your room was one of them, but for some reason (I think there were some computer problems involved) there was no text with several of them. I would have liked to have heard his comments on your great room! The posts usually get deleted by HGTV admin the next day as a snit usually ensues, so I post them on whatever site I have at the time for safe keeping. It's actually Magnaverde that featured you, but that's how it got to my site. Anyway, if you go to the topics area of my page and click Magna Awards, you'll see what I mean. I linked your blog site to the the room pictured there. You have such a lovely style!

    Rita, I might have a new email address since last time which could be the problem. If you go to my profile thing on this page, I have an e-mail option set-up under the "contact" heading if you want to use it. My email is otherwise. I picked up some gel stain. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the advice!