Monday, October 15, 2012

Picking pecans in the fall

Pecan halves

Except for the crazy weather (when it's hot, it's hotter than Florida, when it's cold, it's colder than Boston!) and the deadly tornadoes (the marina was hit twice the last 2 springs), I really like Chattanooga.

Surrounded by mountains and the Tennessee River, this area is a paradise, not only for outdoor enthusiasts, but also for farmers. Even though we had had a hot summer, the harvest wasn't too shabby. Not that I know much about farming, but neighbors who planted reaped a good amount of green beans, squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, okra, corn and pears. In my 5 years here at Hales Bar Marina, I've picked wild blackberries, gingko nuts, and recently pecans! Sure, my hands got stained from picking and calluses from cracking the pecans, but it was all worth it.  We devoured the spiced pecans (recipe below) and pecan pie.

This pecan picking experience brings back memories of the time when we cruised Solomons Island, Maryland, where we discovered chestnut trees and had a blast picking and shelling/cooking/glazing the chestnuts. The pecans, compared to the chestnuts, are much simpler to work with, and are just as delicious. Yum!
Final product - spiced pecans and pecan pie
Spiced Pecans
This recipe is adapted from one I found on the Internet. Great for a snack anytime.

2 cups pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp water
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with the vanilla and water. Stir in pecans, mixing until well moistened.
3. In a small bowl, mix together white and brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Sprinkle over nuts. Spread nuts on prepared pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Be careful not to burn the nuts.


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