Posts Tagged ‘Cracking pecans’

The Pecan Man

This was a good pecan producing year. Some years are, some years aren’t. We picked up buckets and buckets of pecans. Summer and I shelled at least one 5-gallon bucket full. Over Christmas a bunch of the family went out and in a short time gathered six more 5-gallon buckets full. Suddenly the task looked overwhelming.

We have one tree that produces small pecans. They are good and meaty but difficult to crack. Years ago I had gotten an electric table top cracker which I liked but back then we had three trees and the nuts were larger. The cracker can not be adjusted down for the small size of these nuts.

When mama starts thinking watch out! I have some cousins in South Carolina who grow grooves of pecans and have a large nut cracker. I talked to them about paying them a visit and cracking my nuts. But before I got that accomplished, a friend (sales rep) from North Carolina was here and mentioned one of his neighbors has a nut cracker and did some nuts for him. Wilson, NC is a lot closer than Denmark, SC.

So today my friend, Donna, and I took a road trip to Wilson, North Carolina to the “Pecan Man” with 111 pounds of homegrown pecans in tow. It was a fun day and made for an interesting “field trip”.

Jr. Etheridge has two crackers. One for large nuts and one for small. Surprisingly, mine qualified for the large cracker.

He poured the nuts into metal baskets and then set them into hot water for a few minutes until they came to a full boil.
After boiling, they set the basket aside to drain a few minutes before pouring them into the cracker.

I found it very interesting that they boiled the pecans before cracking. They said it makes them crack better. I had never heard that in all our years of raising pecans.

The inside of the cracker. A motor turns the shaft and the beaters break open the nuts. It is amazing they leave the nuts whole.
The Pecan Man’s helper. The crackers are inside those wooden boxes. Large on the left, small on the right.

The pecan’s drop into the chute after they are cracked and take the elevator ride up to the sifter which separates most of the shells from the nut. I still will have to sort out the rest of the shells-every tiny little piece.

Cracked pecans coming out the chute.
Beautiful. The Pecan Man said the end yield is about 60%.
The trash!
I ended up with three of these boxes almost full. 65 pounds of nuts.

There are still pieces pf shells in the nuts and we will have to pick through them and clean out the trash. It was suggested to pour the nuts on a bath towel to sort out the trash from the nuts. The little pieces of shell will stick to the towel making it easier! Oh how sweet those little tidbits of info were! When I was cracking the nuts at home, we had a hard time getting them out as halves. I was amazed how big my halves looked!

They told me a true story, just in case I didn’t know! One person took their nuts home and made a pie just like you see them in the box! They discovered the horror of shells in their pie!!!

The Pecan Man’s waiting bench. It really did not take long. We were probably there an hour.
Jr. Etheridge the Pecan Man!

I enjoyed our short visit with these two guys. They were interesting characters and had a funny sense of humor. It was obvious they love what they do and their hangout was full of interesting signs.

It was obvious we were in Dale Earnhardt country.

Going home Donna got thinking and asked me how much these pecans ended up costing me. It was two hour, 20 minute ride one way so my gas bill was $39.00. He charges 50 cents a pound to crack. I also had to feed Donna! I figure they ended up costing me about $1.50 a pound. We had a fun day, I went home happy with 65 pounds of shelled nuts and I was saved a lot of work. It was so worth it and I will go back again next pecan harvest!

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