The 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and arrange the shelled pecans in a single layer .
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Summertime is truly here…hot and humid! Mark has just completed our fourth scab spray of the Natchitoches Pecans’ 2013 pecan growing season. An insecticide was included in this fourth spray as well to control second generation pecan casebearer moths. There are always limbs to picked up in a pecan orchard so our crew tidies up the orchard floor every few weeks. Our pecan orchard has gotten a couple of nice rains the past month. With the nuts beginning to size up the orchard will need some substantial rains in the near future to ensure big full pecans come pecan harvest time.
Mark attended the annual Tri-State Pecan Conference in Vicksburg, Mississippi in late June. He got to catch up with his pecan buddies as well as tour Raymond Smith’s pecan orchard that is currently being leased and renovated by Bill and Matt Goff. The meeting has always been concluded with the “Official Ben Littlepage Pecan Crop Guesstimate”. This year’s Littlepage prediction was 222 million pounds for the United States, which would be the shortest crop since 2008. One thing we have learned through our 28 years in this “nutty pecan business” is that a short crop tends to get shorter while a large crop tends to get bigger – Best to not count yo pecans till you get them in the sack and sold! All for now….gotta get back to the pecan orchard to watch those nuts grow!!!
Make sure you place your order for our delicious gourmet fresh Louisiana pecans today to have them shipped by Christmas. The last day to place your orders to receive them by Christmas is December 15th.
This year has been very busy here at Natchitoches Pecans and we love all the amazing feedback from you all. Please visit our website to buy our fresh pecans online today!
It is time to start picking up those tasty pecans that are grown here in the heart of Louisiana! The 2012 pecan crop looks great. Mark had planned to start picking the Candy variety on Monday but when he went to start the pecan shaker it would not make a sound. Further investigation revealed a burned out relay switch. Got the part this am, Mark installed it right after lunch, and off he went in search of Candy trees to shake!! Pecan harvesters will be running tomorrow. Filled pecan wagons should be headed to the cleaning plant sometime Thursday. We should have new crop pecans in the pecan house by the weekend – YES!!!
[Originally posted on November 23, 2011]
Don’t forget to order your delicious Louisiana pecans early this year so we have plenty of time to ship them to you before the holidays. Our staff is working very hard to make sure all orders go out as soon as possible for your holiday enjoyment.
Thanks again for choosing Natchitoches Pecans for your holiday enjoyment!
[Originally posted on October 13, 2011]
Natchitoches Pecans, Inc. announces beginning of Fall 2011 harvest season and introduces new Praline Pecans.
Family-run Natchitoches Pecans showcases this year’s superior crop with mouthwatering new line of gourmet glazed pecans.
Natchitoches Pecans, Inc. is happy to announce an early start to this year’s fall harvest season—about three weeks earlier than last year.
Though the past few months have been quite dry overall, Natchitoches Pecans’ 2011 crop looks to be better than the 2010 crop. “We were lucky enough to get ample rain at the critical times. Our trees have a good load of pecans from top to bottom,” said co-owner Julie Swanson.
This family owned and operated company has been hard at work in preparation for the upcoming harvest—picking up broken limbs in the orchard, bush hogging, and more—but the Swansons are already thinking about Thanksgiving and the winter holidays as well. To highlight what is promising to be an exceptional batch of pecans this fall, Natchitoches Pecans will be offering a new product for the holiday season: Praline Pecans.
Natchitoches Pecans’ traditional-style Praline Pecans are carefully coated with a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth glaze for a fresh and delicious taste that can rival even the best New Orleans pralines. Whether eaten on their own, crumbled on top of ice cream, or chopped up and baked into homemade cookies, these gourmet pecans are sure to be a hit at any special occasion or holiday event this year.
The Natchitoches Pecans family prides itself on not only on the high quality of its products but the personalized service it offers to every customer as a small business. If you’re looking to make your holiday gift shopping easy, simply provide the Swansons with your list of addresses, and they’ll take care of the rest—they’ll even include a card with your special greeting in each box. But don’t wait too long to do it: “Demand is going be high this year,” said Swanson, “so we’re encouraging our customers to get their orders in early!”
Established in 1987, Natchitoches Pecans, Inc. is a family owned and operated pecan orchard. Mark Swanson sees to the everyday operations, his wife, Julie, takes care of Little Eva’s Pecan Store and the mail-order business, and their mothers, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews all help wherever needed. Natchitoches Pecans is proud to provide high-quality, gourmet Louisiana pecans for all of its customers. For more information, or to place an order online, visit www.natchitochespecans.com.