Friday, December 18, 2009

If I Were a Nut, I'd be a Pecan

If I were a nut, I would definitely be a pecan. And probably a Texas pecan because that's what I grew up eating.

The pecan is the state tree of Texas.

There was a pecan grove, i.e., a small pecan farm, near where we lived. I would always admire the trees on the way to Pasadena. The trees are tall and slender and create large canopies. I imagined many magical things going on inside that grove.

My sister, Jane, who still lives in Texas, just sent me a big batch. Woohoo! Thanks, Jane!

I did a little research and learned that the pecan tree is part of the hickory family and is native to the U.S. The trees grow predominately in the South, but as far north as Illinois. Zones 6 - 9.

I also learned that pecans are not popular outside the U.S. because they need a warm climate and lots of water and because they closely resemble walnuts which have long been established.  

Since Jane so generously sent me such a big batch of both shelled and unshelled pecans, I also looked up the proper way to store them.   On the Texas Pecan Growers website, they said:

When stored at 0 degrees in the freezer, either shelled meats or in-shell pecans will maintain quality for two years. Under refrigeration, pecans should maintain their quality for several months. Storing pecans at room temperature is not recommended.

Pecans will oxidize or turn rancid more rapidly in light and out of their shell, so nuts will store longer when they are in their shell. 

I am excited to use the pecans in many recipes for the blog.  And I will definitely be making a pecan pie for Christmas day.

Found this simple recipe on the Pecan Growers website.  It is great way to use pecans for a cookie. This cookie goes by many names, but basically it's a butter nut ball.   We tested the recipe last night. 

Holiday Pecan Cookies
Beat until soft ½ cup butter.
Blend in two tablespoons sugar.

Add one teaspoon vanilla, one cup ground pecan meats (be sure to toast your pecans first), and one cup cake flour or regular flour sifted several times.

Roll into 32 ½ inch balls, one teaspoon full at a time.

Place on greased baking sheet. Bake in 300 degree oven for 45 minutes or 375 for 25 minutes. While cookies are still hot, roll in confectioner's sugar. Roll again after cookies cool.

Stored in air-tight tins, these cookies will keep indefinitely.


  1. Absolutely one of my favorites. My mom use to make them every year:-)

  2. Saw your blog on pecans and the cookie recipe - that is the same recipe my
    family has been using for YEARS - it is from some ancient cookbook my mom
    has had since she first got married and in the book the cookies were called
    Pecan Puffs. I mean, exactly the same recipe. I have some dough in the
    fridge right now that I need to roll into balls and bake. I grind the
    nuts in a mouli nut grinder so they form almost a flour. It makes the
    texture a lot different than the typical Mexican wedding cookie. Anyway,
    very funny to see the recipe turn up on Feast Everyday.