I know I've mentioned our pecan trees, but I haven't shown them to you up close and personal. They probably would have only been a passing mention if this month of posts hadn't fallen at the peak of their harvest.
When we moved in, we knew they were pecan trees, but not much else. One neighbor mentioned back at the end of August that the nuts would be ripe "in a month or two" and we'd have to fight the squirrels for them. Both statements have proven true, though considering how many nuts we're getting, I'm not going to begrudge the squirrels their share. Another neighbor gently informed us of the proper pronunciation around here: Be sure to pronounce "pecan" with a long "e" in the first syllable, and make the "a" and "ah" (not the sharp Michigan "a" as in "can"). The stress is still on the second syllable, which shortens the first "e" a bit, but not enough to make it an "eh" sound. There's your linguistic lesson for the day.
Google was our friend for other insights and details.
1) How do we know the nuts are ripe?
The outer husk darkens from green to blackish-brown and the end starts to split.
2) How do we get them off the trees?
Wait till they fall (for the most part). Then pick them up as quickly as possible and get the outer hull off so they don't get buggy or bitter.
3) How do we know if a nut is good?
Well, the final test is to crack it open and look at it. However if you shake it and there's no noise, and if the hard shell is an even color (ours are brown with black stripes and speckles), there's a good chance it's fine.
4) What is the best way to store them, and how long do they last?
I don't have a complete answer on this one yet. We need to do a little more research. They're definitely easier to store than the peaches we used to get from a tree at our first home back in Michigan!
I'm quite sure we don't have all our answers yet (and probably don't even know half the questions to ask), but we certainly have some good nuts. Thank goodness we have some old nutcrackers on hand.
Now I just need more recipes.