Enjoy tasty pecans throughout year

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Although pecans are typically associated with the holidays or fancy candy dishes, there’s no need to wait to savor the crunchy texture and satisfying flavor of pecans.

Pecans are typically harvested in October through December. The nut is mature and ready to harvest anytime after the shuck begins to open.

At home, unshelled pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place. Shelled pecans should be either refrigerated or frozen. (Source: Georgia Pecan Commission).

Pecan nuts must be stored away from air and light. Pecans will also readily absorb odors from almost any material, including other fruits and vegetables.

Freezing: The best storage conditions can be obtained using vacuum-sealed bags or jars. In the absence of a vacuum sealer, zipper lock bags or airtight containers will work.

Place sealed bags or vacuum packages in the refrigerator or freezer.

Frozen pecans can be thawed and refrozen repeatedly during the two-year freezing period without loss of flavor or texture. (Source: Texas Pecan Growers Association).

In the pantry at 70-80 degrees, the pecans can only be stored for two months. Refrigerated at 38-40 degrees, pecans can be stored nine months. In the freezer at zero degrees, pecans can be stored for one or two years.

Canning: shell nuts. Spread a single layer of nut meats on baking pans and place in a 250 degrees oven.

Stir occasionally, heating only until the nut meats are dry but not browned. Watch carefully that they don’t scorch.

Pack hot nuts into hot, clean jars, leaving a half inch of headspace. Do not add any liquid to the jars. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process.

Option 1 –– Process in a boiling water canner with the water in the canner 1 to 2 inches below the tops of the jars, Hot Half-Pints or Pints 30 minutes.

Option 2 –– Process in a dial gauge pressure canner or in a weighted gauge canner hot half-pints or pints for 10 minutes at 10 pounds.

Angela Treadaway is a regional extension agent serving Shelby County. She can be reached by phone at 410-3696.