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A Step by Step Guide on How to Shell Pecans

Author: Deborah Martin
by Deborah Martin
Posted: Sep 14, 2015

Whether you are planning to eat the nuts roasted or plain, or you would like to use them in your favorite pecan pie recipe, the pecans must be cleaned and shelled before you can use them. Start with the first step in this article on how to extract the pecan nuts meats from their woody, tough shells.

Preparing the Pecans

  1. Buy or Harvest some in-shell pecans. Make sure that you choose a variety that is uniform in shape and size
  2. Sort your pecans. Sort through all the pecans and then dispose any that have holes or cracks, or the ones that feel considerably lighter than the others. Discard those that rattle when you shake them too. These kind of nuts have most likely gone bad.
  3. You can boil the pecans. There are some pecan-lovers that claim that boiling the pecans before cracking them helps loosen the pecan shells.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove top. Then gently add your pecans to the water and then leave them to boil for ten to fifteen minutes. After boiling, drain the pecans and then leave them to cool before cracking.
  • You can also place one cup of water and two cups of pecan nuts in a microwave bowl and then heat on high for about five to six minutes.

4. Prepare your work area. Shelling the pecan nuts can be a very messy job, as many bits of shells are likely to fly just about everywhere during cracking. Thus it’s best to set up your work station outside.

Cracking and Shelling the Pecan Nuts

  • Consider buying a nutcracker. A squeeze-style nutcracker can be used to easily crack the pecan shells.
  • Place the pecan nut between the two arms of the nutcracker and then squeeze gently till you hear a crack. Do not squeeze too hard, or you will end up breaking the nut meat inside the pecans.
  • Now rotate the pecan nut in-between the two arms of the nutcracker and then squeeze again. Continue squeezing and rotating along the length of the pecans till the nut shell becomes loose.
  • Use a pliers and side cutters. This is another very easy and quick way for shelling the pecans.
  • Take the side cutters and then use them to snip off the 2 pointed ends of the nut shell, into a bowl beneath.
  • Take your pliers and place the pecan nut in-between the jaws, and then gently crack around the middle of the nut shell, while rotating the pecan nut until the nut shell comes loose.
  • Use a specialized cracker. If you are going to crack a very large number of pecan nuts, it may be worth your time to make an investment on a specialized pecan nut cracker.
  • These crackers allow you to crack the pecan nuts efficiently and quickly, without breaking or crushing the nut meat.

Cleaning and Storing the Nuts.

  1. Clean off the shell materials and debris. Use a toothpick, or a narrow piece of the pecan shells to scrape out the woody shell material and the lining from the fissures in the pecan nut meat. A small amount of this material left in your nut can leave an undesirable bitter taste when you eat the nut.
  2. Leave the pecan nuts in a colander for about 24 hours. This will allow the pecan nuts to dry out and then season, thus giving them a better flavor when consumed..
  3. Store the pecan nuts in a well sealed container. Place the pecan nuts in a sealed container and then store them in a cool, dry place.

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Author: Deborah Martin

Deborah Martin

United States

Member since: Jun 11, 2015
Published articles: 8

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