The farm to fork craze around America brings a battle between Texas and Georgia for the best pecans ever. For state promotion, we’ve got to give the race to Georgia. The Georgia Commission on Pecans has a fabulous website filled with articles about the health benefits of pecans, fun trivia, and my favorite…recipes!
Georgia Pecans on my Mind
First a few facts. February is American Heart Month, and a perfect time to celebrate pecans that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The U.S. produces 80% of the world’s pecans in 14 states. The State of Georgia is the largest U.S. producer with approximately 600 producers, and an annual crop value of $80-100 million. Visit: http://georgiapecans.org/think-beyond-the-pie/ .
Durden Pecans. One Georgia vendor of pecans lists a number of fabulous facts (aka useless trivia):
- “Assuming that a pie is 9 inches in diameter, it would take 97,812,000 Pecan pies to circle the earth.” How do you solve for the number of pies that would get eaten before the circle is complete?
- “It takes about 310 pecan halves to fill a one-pound bag. So there are about 78 pecans used in every pecan pie!” Well, technically pecans come in a number of sizes, but let’s not get all nuts about the details.
- “Pecans are the only tree nut that is truly native to the United States.”
- “Pecans are one of the largest fruit-bearing trees. One irrigated, managed acre of Pecan trees will produce about 1,000 pounds of Pecans.”
- “Pecans can be frozen and refrozen for at least two years without loss of flavor or texture.” Shout out to my friend Keith’s parents in Southeast Texas. Each year they send pecans that have been frozen and we refreeze them for safe keeping. Well, we go through them pretty fast, but nonetheless, I have to say the refreeze ritual does work!
Check out Durden Pecans at http://www.durdenpecan.com/ . You’ll find more trivia, storage hints, recipes, and of course, pecans!
Pecans—much more than pie. And, just to entice you to visit the Georgia Pecan Commission’s site, you’ll find some enticing recipes using pecans such as:
- Asiago Jalapeño Pecan Cheese Crisps ( http://georgiapecans.org/think-beyond-the-pie/recipes/asiago-jalapeno-pecan-crisps/ ),
- Crumb-Topped Georgia Pecan and Cherry Cereal Bars (http://georgiapecans.org/think-beyond-the-pie/recipes/cherry-cereal-bars/ ), and
- Penne with Wild Mushrooms, Georgia Pecans and Country Ham (http://georgiapecans.org/think-beyond-the-pie/recipes/penne-with-wild-mushrooms-georgia-pecans-country-ham/ ).
Everything is Bigger in Texas
Not to be outdone by the fine state of Georgia, Texas has its own agricultural heritage with pecans. But maybe more famous than the Lone Star’s pecan crop, is the largest squirrel at a pecan farm and shop known as the Berdoll Pecan Farm. First, you have to wonder why a pecan farm has its arch enemy, the squirrel, as a mascot. But, I guess it makes sense that the largest squirrel in the U.S. resides at a pecan farm.
Ms. Pearl took up residence in 2011, gets her picture taken over 30 times a day, and is the largest squirrel in the world. At 14 feet tall, Ms. Pearl is hardly a small pest. Frankly, she’s no pest at all, as she is actually a statue. You can find Ms. Pearl just southeast of Austin in a town called Cedar Creek.
But if good eats, pecans and a large squirrel aren’t enough to get you to travel Highway 71, there’s more. How about a vending machine stocked with goodies, including fresh pecan pies. That’s right! Next time you’re in the Austin area, you must visit the pie vending machine, open 24/7. In the meantime, you can shop online at http://berdollsquirrel.com/index.php .
Shopping for more than pecans. You’ll find a wide variety of pleasures at Berdoll’s, including:
- Ginger teriyaki beef jerky and quail sausage jerky
- Pecan oil as a replacement for olive oil in certain dishes
- Fudge, pralines and divinity (a southern trinity)
- Pecan pies with and without sugar
Explore Berdoll’s: http://www.berdollpecanfarm.com/ .
Texas Pecan Growers Association: If you are just plain whacky about pecans, check out Pecan South on Facebook or Pinterest. Recipes, articles, and information about growing pecans are all available:
http://www.tpga.org/ Considering the Texas and Georgia pecan rivalry I think the url is kind of funny! I’m just not sure if that was intentional.
Harvest Helpers—Shake. Shake. Shake. If you’re a loyal blog reader, you know I have an unusual fascination with farm equipment. Backyard harvesters rely on Texas winds to get those pecans within reach. Or, your dogs chasing squirrels up pecan trees can also assist gravity. But if you are serious about harvesting pecans, there is equipment that shakes the tree without harming it. You can see a demonstration of shake that tree at: http://agfax.com/2017/02/17/pecan-harvest-equipment-demonstration-video/ .Click on the Pecan Harvest Equipment video, and expand the screen.
If you can’t get enough of pecans, feel free to share recipes with us.
Nuts to you.