Shelling Pecans

Shelling Pecans

Pecans are delicious and very healthy nut choices. In order to enjoy these tasty treats however, it may be necessary to learn how shelling pecans takes place. While you can purchase pecans already out of their shell, they are much less expensive if you purchase them in their shell. In addition, you can store and keep them fresh much longer if they have not been previously shelled.

Choosing Pecans

Before you learn about shelling pecans it is important to know how to choose good quality nuts. It is recommended that you choose the smoothest pecans and avoid those that have blemishes or cracks. The shells should be light brown in color although they may have a dusty appearance and have a few smaller black marks on them. The best way to tell if you have chosen a quality pecan is to shake each individual nut. The nuts should never rattle inside the shell. If they do then the pecan may simply not be ready for shelling. Try to choose pecans that have consistent coloring and are consistent in size. This will ensure that the taste is universal for each nut that you shell.

Storing Pecans

If you are shelling pecans then you may need to know how to properly store the nuts to ensure their freshness. Unless you are planning to gobble them up right away or are going to add them to various dishes and baked goods, storing them is crucial. If you store them in the shell you can expect them to last for a full year in a cool and dry area. If you are shelling pecans for storage then you will need an airtight container and should store the container at room temperature. Shelled pecans stored correctly will typically last up to two months before use and retain their freshness. When stored in the freezer they can last up to two years or up to nine months in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How to Properly Shell a Pecan

Shelling pecans is not something that takes rocket science like intelligence but there are a few things that you should keep in mind. You will need tools such as a nutcracker or hammer in order to break the outer shell. Place the pecan on a sturdy, solid surface before you begin cracking to ensure that you do not damage the kernel. If you are using a nutcracker you can simply shell the pecan in your hand if you wish but be careful not to put too much pressure on the shell when cracking otherwise you may cut or damage the nut inside. There are many tools available today that makes shelling pecans much easier than the traditional way of hitting them with a hammer. Twist and tabletop versions of the traditional nutcracker can be purchased at many grocery and department stores as well as online retailers. You can also purchase an electric nutcracker which is an excellent choice if you have several pecans to shell or if you suffer from arthritis or other medical conditions.

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