2015 Pecan Harvest Begins

Our pecan orchard is in warp speed this time of year gathering our fresh Louisiana pecans signifying the start of the  2015 pecan harvest at Little Eva Plantation.  Within the last previous two to three weeks the orchard floor has been cleaned of many broken limbs clearing the ground beneath each tree which enable the pecan harvesters

Pecan harvester picking pecans at Little Eva Plantation.

Pecan harvester picking pecans at Little Eva Plantation.

to not miss a pecan as these machines go around and around each tree gathering nuts beneath the trees.  Each variety is  typically harvested  individually. – Candy variety is an earlier maturing nut and is usually always harvested first.  Then comes Elliott, Desirable, Branch, Stuart, Caddo, Sumner and Melrose.

When the pecan harvester’s bin is full, the nuts are dumped into a pecan wagon.

Pecan wagon loaded and ready to head to the cleaning plant.

Pecan wagon loaded and ready to head to the cleaning plant.

Next stop is the cleaning plant.  Once the filled pecan wagon arrives at the cleaning plant, the nuts are dumped into a pit and are then carried by conveyors and various elevators up and down and around and through the dirt machine where dirt clods and large sticks and other debris are removed and blown into our trash trailer.   Next the pecans make their way to the Savage in-shell color sorter.  Savage Sorters employ high-resolution color cameras and highly specialized color-sorting software to identify and separate stick-tight nuts and other light debris. In a split second the machine uses a small blast of air to separate them out from the good-product flow. The sorting criteria is completely adjustable on the simple-to-use touch-screen computer terminal. Even novice computer users can learn the simple tasks involved.  After color sorting, the pecans proceed to the Savage pecan sizer where they are sized and then bagged in bulk bags and labeled as to variety, size, date of harvest, and what section of orchard the bagged pecans came from.  Filled super bags are then moved into the warehouse.  Next week I will blog about the cracking and shelling process.

 

 

 

Caramel Popcorn Pecan Crunch

Caramel Popcorn Pecan Crunch will be a delicious treat to bring to tailgate parties or family gatherings to enjoy while watching the weekend football games.  This easy recipe would also be a great idea to use for tasty gifts for the upcoming holidays.  Find an attractive gift bag, fill it with pecan crunch,  attach the recipe to the top and present it to the special people on your list.  Pecans added to any recipe contribute to the nutrition value of that dish.  Pecans provide antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and heart health properties.

Ingredients

20 cups popped popcorn

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups large pecan pieces

1 tsp soda

Directions

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter, salt and corn syrup in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil.  Continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and soda, stirring quickly.  Pour over the popped popcorn and pecan pieces that have been placed into a large oven safe pan.  Mix well.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in a 250 degree F oven.  Stir every 20 minutes.
  5. Cool on large cookie sheets and ENJOY!

*Variation – Chocolate chips could be added for an extra  taste for all the chocolate lovers.

Caramel Popcorn Pecan Crunch

Caramel Popcorn Pecan Crunch