Favorite Holiday Food Using Pecans

Favorite Holiday Food Using PecansBetween all of the entertaining, delicious flavors of the season, and fun edible gifts, the holidays are the best time of the year to cook. One of the most versatile and tasty ingredients for holiday cooking is pecans. We’ve put together a list of our favorite seasonal recipes using pecans to help inspire your holiday menu. These recipes are simple to make and are sure to impress anyone. Continue reading

Holidays And Pecans

Holidays And PecansDecorating your Christmas tree, writing a letter to Santa, and baking cookies for your friends are all some of the wonderful holiday traditions we enjoy every year. Another great holiday tradition is eating pecans. Pecans have a long history with Christmas and are a perfect addition to your holiday menu and to give as a gift. Continue reading

Bring Pecans To Your Holiday Party

Bring Pecans To Your Holiday PartyThe holiday season will be here in only a matter of weeks and there is a lot to get excited about. From the mouth-watering holiday dinners to the hectic fun that is spending time with the family, it is certainly a great time of the year. Not to mention all the great holiday parties you can enjoy. Continue reading

Not Too Soon To Be Considering Gifts For The Upcoming Holiday Season

Not Too Soon To Be Considering Gifts For The Upcoming Holiday SeasonThe holidays are right around the corner, and with them comes the necessity of gifts galore for all your friends, family, and loved ones. While gift shopping can be one of the most difficult and stress-inducing times of the year, it doesn’t have to be. Rather than stressing over the perfect gift from the mall or other department stores, why not gift them with one of our Pecan Gifts and Tins instead? If you’re not totally convinced that this is the perfect gift to give this year, here are a few reasons why pecans are the perfect gift for this holiday season. Continue reading

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.

 

 

 

Clementine Hunter and Pecan Gifts

Natchitoches pecans is proud to announce that The Clementine Hunter Collection will be available to order on our website in early October.  This unique collection will make great gifts for the upcoming holiday season along with our signature gourmet pecan gifts, pecan candies, and other pecan products for everyone on your gift list.

Mugs and Dinnerware

Mugs and Dinnerware

Doug Gitter created Gitter Gallery and The Clementine Hunter Collection because he wanted to share his love of contemporary American self-taught art with others and wanted to take artwork which was once affordable and make it affordable again so that others could enjoy a piece of American history. The hand-painted ceramic platters and bowls and dinnerware are 100% handmade and no two pieces are exactly alike. Each piece has its own distinctive shape whose textured surface allows you to feel the passion in Clementine’s work. These pieces can be hung on the wall, displayed on a bookshelf, or used as favorite serving pieces for any occasion. All ceramics are food, microwave and dishwasher safe. Each of the Hand-Embroidered Pillows and Linen Hand Towels are works of art also.

Pillows and Linen Hand Towels

Pillows and Linen Hand Towels

The pillows are embroidered on 100% organic cotton. It takes 2 artisans two weeks to create one beautiful pillow and each pillow is unique because each artisan has their own stitching style. Each hand towel is silk screened then embroidered by hand on 100% linen and is beautifully presented in a gorgeous organdy reusable gift pouch.

With every purchase from The Clementine Hunter Collection, a portion of the proceeds goes toward preservation and interpretation of the Clementine Hunter House at Melrose Plantation, a National Historic Landmark.

Clementine Hunter is Louisiana’s most famous artist and considered one of the most important self-taught American artists of the 20th century. Her work can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the Oprah Winfrey Collection in Chicago, and countless other museums and private collections across the country. Clementine, called Tebe by her family, was born at Hidden Hill Plantation in 1886. Hidden Hill was renamed Little Eva Plantation in the 1950’s. She moved to Melrose Plantation in 1902 where she lived the rest of her days until she died on January 1, 1988 around the age of 101.

A self-taught artist without formal training, Clementine produced colorful paintings that depicted her memories of life on a southern plantation. She worked in the cotton fields and pecan orchards, and was later a domestic servant in the Big House at Melrose Plantation. Clementine began painting “about 1940”. She would paint scenes of baptisms, weddings, zinnas, fishing, playing cards, cotton picking and pecan picking. She would remember things and then sketch them out and paint them.

We are especially fond of Clementine’s Pecan Picking pieces since Natchitoches Pecans grows and offers for sale top quality Louisiana pecans grown on Little Eva Plantation. According to Clementine, “I always liked to pick pecans. It was hard work. You had to stoop over a lot. You had to gather at least three hundred pounds or better a day to make it worthwhile. Extra money was made by pecan picking. Life was hard, but if you toughed it out you could get by. During the times when money was scarce and they wasn’t too much to eat, a pinch of snuff helped kill the appetite.”

As Christmas and Thanksgiving season is just around the corner, it is not too early to start considering gifts for those on your gift list. Go to www.natchitochespecans.com secure website to view our selection of fresh Louisiana pecan halves, cracked pecans, pecan gift tins, Clementine for the Holidays wooden pecan gift box, and many other pecan items.  Corporate orders are welcome.

Roasted Or Toasted Pecans

Roasted pecans add flavor and crunch.
Toasted pecans add flavor and crunch.

Toasted pecans add flavor and crunch.

Some pecan recipes call for roasted pecans while a different recipe may call for toasted pecans.  Roasted or toasted pecans – What is the difference?  Toasting pecans before you bake them in a recipe brings out all the best flavors of the nuts.  Applying heat releases the oils in the pecans, which in turn intensifies their flavor, adds crispness, and tones down any bitterness.  Many times pecans bought in grocery store baking sections are dark and when tasted do have a bitter taste as they may not be fancy quality or be a couple years old.  For recipes that feature nuts, toasted nuts will add a lot of flavor with just a few extra minutes of effort.  Toasted nuts can also be used to garnish desserts. And, they are great for sprinkling over ice cream or yogurt.  Even try adding toasted nuts to salads or pasta!

Follow these simple steps for perfectly toasted pecans that will bring new life to your baking recipes.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and arrange the shelled pecans in a single layer .
  3. Bake the nuts, stirring once after five minutes and then again after another five minutes during cooking for even toasting.  Smaller nuts will toast faster than larger ones so adjust cooking time accordingly.  While the nuts will become lightly browned, the best gauge for proper toasting is smell.  When the nuts have become fragrant, they are ready.
  4. Once the nuts have finished toasting, transfer then to a plate or a towel to cool.  Try to use a cooling surface large enough to allow the nuts to spread out in a single layer.  Leaving the nuts on the hot pan will cause them to continue cooking.  Allow the pecans to cool to room temperature before using them in a baking recipe.  Using nuts that are too warm can affect the dough or batter you’re making.
  5. After nuts have cooled, use them immediately in your recipe.  The flavor of toasted nuts will dissipate over time so any unused nuts can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to a week.

Now let’s turn to roasting pecans.  Roasting nuts involve the addition of an oil to them.  It may be butter, margarine, olive oil or vegetable oil.  The added oil can enable sugar, salt, and various spices to cling to the nuts for lots of different flavors.  From sweet and  salty to hot and spicy.  Check out Sugar and Spice Pecans to try for your next celebration.  I can taste them now!