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Pecans

pecan tree

We have a magnificent, 20 year old pecan tree on the eastern side of our house, shading the verandah that runs along that side.  It is deciduous, and so in winter it loses all its leaves and the verandah is bathed in light, a glorious spot to sit and eat breakfast in the sun, or for a Sunday brunch party.  It’s quite late to leaf up again in Spring but just as the sun is getting belligerent in October it bursts into leaf.  For all the summer the verandah is cool and shady and you can sit and watch the myriad of birds that use it.

From New Year on, you can see the nuts developing.  But you have to be patient.  You have to wait until the husk opens and the nut is ready to fall of its own accord.  Early picked nuts never ripen. As we have discovered.

By about the beginning of March, the cockatoos start considering the nuts ripe enough for them and flocks arrive every day.  We bang pots and throw things and generally swear at them and if we are lucky, manage to scare them off enough to allow some nuts to ripen.  By early April, the brush turkeys start considering the nuts ripe enough and the tree is full of big black birds along with the big white ones. Finally, by mid April the husks start opening. We lay tarps under the tree and shake branches with a bamboo pole to get the nuts to drop.  Any that are not collected straight away are gone – brush turkeys, bush rats, even ducks love them.

Finally, by late April, we are harvesting pecans, after all this more than I can be bothered cracking.  I’ve spent most of last weekend cracking pecans for TEDx , and there’s a big basket waiting for me to get some enthusiasm for cracking again.  I’m thinking pesto and pilaff and fruit and nut bread and seedy biscuits and chocolate beetroot brownies and a spiced pecans recipe that I’ll post if I get around to making it.  Anyone have any favourite pecan recipes?

pecans

 

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Vanessa April 23, 2013, 8:11 pm

    Oooh yum. We’re thinking of getting a pecan for our new place, although battling the birds sounds a bit daunting. Do you need two for cross-pollination?

  • Linda April 23, 2013, 8:24 pm

    Hi Vanessa, Daley’s says ” Although most varieties are self pollinating (SP), planting 2 varieties one from each group will ensure optimum cross pollination.” We have only one tree, but there are a few locally. We tell the cockatoos to “Go down to Joe and Sue’s!!”

  • celia April 24, 2013, 3:20 pm

    It’s the tale of a old tree, and all that feed at the restaurant in its leaves. Just lovely post, Linda.. 🙂

  • Jason Dingley April 24, 2013, 4:53 pm

    What a beautiful looking tree.

  • Vanessa April 24, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Thanks Linda. Will keep my eyes peeled for any other tree locally and be sure to find out the names of the people living there so we can send the cockies their way too 🙂

  • Lorna April 25, 2013, 12:31 am

    Beautiful tree! Our neighbor in Texas had a wonderful pecan tree, but now that we live in New England there are no pecans to be found. We do have walnuts, however, and sugar maples for syrup. I wonder how candied pecans would be? I love to mix maple syrup with a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt heated until nearly caramelized, then add the walnuts and toss and toss until coated and then wait very patiently to cool before eating or you WILL burn your tongue! It might be nice to have a little sweet to balance the spiced pecans?
    And, I WILL be trying your chocolate beetroot brownies! If I keep the beetroot hush, my boys just might eat it 🙂

  • narf7 April 25, 2013, 6:59 am

    I am totally and utterly in love with your pecan tree…wish we could grow one here in Northern Tassie 🙁

  • Linda April 25, 2013, 7:52 am

    Hi Lorna, love the idea of candied pecans. Sort of like pecan pie without the pie.

  • Louise April 25, 2013, 5:19 pm

    Wonderful tree and nuts. I will have to see whether pecans are suited to our climate and work out if I should plant one or two.

  • deb April 25, 2013, 10:23 pm

    Hi Linda. I just found your blog through a link. I’ve had your gardening book for years and it has always been my favourite permaculture gardening book; a bit of a bible, really, and probably the only one I have read cover to cover, and keep on going back to.. so I was very excited to look over your blog tonight. All the recipes look great and I am already planning to use one for afternoon tea tomorrow. Thanks. Deb xx

  • Bree April 26, 2013, 3:43 pm

    I roast thinly sliced pumpkin and half way through throw in some pecans and drizzle the lot with maple syrup – yum! Only takes about 20-30mins.

  • Linda April 26, 2013, 5:08 pm

    Oh what a good idea.

  • cityhippyfarmgirl April 27, 2013, 8:16 pm

    I made a purple carrot cake with pecans in it last week. It probably wouldn’t make much a dent in your pecan crop but it was a cake that disappeared quickly! (No sugar in it either.)

    I hope you do a post on the TEDx day Linda, I would love to hear your perspective of it.

  • Linda April 28, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Carrot cake -what a good idea. I usually use walnuts, but pecans would work just as well. And I have carrots too.

    I’m planning to do a post on TEDx, if I’m not so overwhelmed I get tongue tied. I’m packing today because I’m at work all week, and getting very excited.

  • cityhippyfarmgirl April 29, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Even if you get tongue tied Linda, I want details! Every crumb of them 🙂

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