As the cold weather set in, I noticed squirrels digging up nuts and acorns they buried in my raised planting bins. Later I saw my holly bush had red berries for the very first time this year and so did my heavenly bamboo shrub. I harvested herbs I grew before a freeze killed them. I dried Spanish tarragon, rosemary, thyme, sage, Greek oregano, and also dill seeds earlier in the season. I dried them inside on trays since we have dry heat. I store them in air tight bottles to use in my cooking all winter long. Curiously my parsley is still growing despite freezes, so I harvest it fresh when needed.
Several local bounties surfaced and I couldn't resist supporting my economy. In December a nearby meat processing plant had a special of 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs for $50. The chicken is raised locally, an added bonus. Food prices have been skyrocketing and we're constantly looking for bargains. Gary drove to get the chicken and I packaged it all up to freeze. So far I've made marinated thighs and chicken shish kabobs. Chicken lends itself to a myriad of recipes.
Yesterday I saw an ad by a local person for unshelled pecans for $2 a pound. I decided to get 10 pounds. Gary met the local seller and brought them back home. Today I learned pecans are not like other nuts. They are a tough nut to crack.
For years living in California I cracked walnuts and almonds using a simple, hand-held nut cracker, but pecans are different. Apparently pecans are extremely hard to crack across the middle and should be cracked on each end first. You might ask yourself why I'd invest in nuts so hard to crack. I didn't know this about pecans till I got the pecans home and tried to crack a few. I originally reasoned nuts are nutritious and cracking them by hand entails energy burned off, also beneficial. Do you get my drift here. A desire to save money on food has now propelled me into learning all about cracking pecans.
Going nuts doesn't end here. I've been researching Texas nut shellers, anvil shears to clip off the pointy ends of the pecans, garage tools, mallets, hammers, even boiling the pecans beforehand. None seem to do the trick. Apparently I need a particular type of pecan cracker, that's the contraption in the photo above. Now you see why I am going nuts this week. What about you, do you have any nutty stories to share with me?
Be Safe, Be Well