Pecans in the shell are a great option. The shell gives them a natural layer of protection, keeping them fresher for longer. Plus, it can be really satisfying to crack a pecan on extract the tender meat inside. As the old saying goes, there are many ways to crack a nut. However, here are our X favorites:
1. The Classic Nutcracker
Nutcrackers are a great tool that is designed specifically for cracking nuts. They come in a large variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and designs. Many are novelty crackers like the famous Christmas nutcrackers and can be fun to use around the holidays. However, for the serious pecan lovers, you’ll want a nutcracker that’s way more functional to get at the meat.
2. Boil Them Before Cracking
Boiling pecans before cracking them can actually help prevent the shell from shattering. Here’s how to boil them to loosen the shell but not cook the meat:
● Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil
● Add the pecans and let cook for 10-15 minutes
● Drain and let cool
● Get to cracking!
If you want a shortcut, you can also take one cup of water to two cups of pecans and put them in the microwave for 5 minutes. Let them cool completely before taking them out as they will be very hot.
3. Hit Up Your Tool Cabinet
If you don’t have a nutcracker, you can still easily extract the meat from pecans in the shell with some basic household tools. Obviously a hammer or a mallet will crack the shells. As fun as it is to bash away at your pecans, it can leave quite a mess. It can also be pretty dangerous to have shell shrapnel flying, so make sure you wear safety goggles and gloves. What we recommend though instead is a pair of pliers. Pliers can work like a simple nutcracker and can easily extract the meat. Just make sure to wash them thoroughly before use.
4. Do It By Hand
Not only will this get your pecans open, it’s a really impressive party trick to show off to your guests. Here’s how to do it:
● Take two pecans and line them up longways
● Place them in the palm of your hand and wrap your fingers around and squeeze hard
● Once one side cracks, roll them over and do another side
● Repeat until the shell is loose and you can pull them off
We don’t really recommend this method if you’re extracting pecans for a pie because it is very time consuming, but it can be a fun way to crack your pecans for a snack.
No matter how you crack your pecans, make sure to only get the highest quality pecans in the shell. Natchitoches Pecans offers the finest, Louisiana pecans. They are rich, tender, and easy to crack.