THE SWEETEST ROASTED PECANS ON EARTH
by Carrie May Jones and Cousin
Pecans and acorns have many similarities but understanding and altering one of the most dominant of those similarities will enable you to make the SWEETEST ROASTED PECANS ON EARTH. Pecan and acorn nuts have two sources of bitterness -- naturally occurring tannins in the kernel and pieces of corky material from the inside of the nut which can adhere to the kernel. Some of the tannin and all of the corky material can be removed by washing the kernels before cooking. Miss Carrie May and her cousin happened upon this revelation years ago and neglected to mention it to the rest of us until the keen taste of a connoisseur of nutty Christmas delicacies such as roasted pecans, divinity and pralines detected the difference between the washed and non-washed pecans.
To "sweeten" the pecan meats (kernels), simply put the pecan kernels in a bowl and fill with luke warm water. Stir and tumble the meats in the water for several minutes and you will see the discoloration in the water. Pour off that water and repeat the process at least once more. You will notice that the water becomes less and less discolored. Spread the pecans on a paper towel and allow them to dry for 10 or 15 minutes. Drying is not necessary if the pecan kernels are going to be oven roasted. To roast the pecan kernels, spread the kernels evenly in a pan with sides (to allow stirring without spillage) and put in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Allow meats to brown then remove them from the oven and immediately stir in two tablespoons of butter per pound of pecans. Salt to taste.
This information is courtesy of Miss Carrie May Jones of Somerville, Tennessee. She is a good friend of the Parsons' family and is a retired Home Demonstration Agent for the Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1940 with a B.S. in Home Management. She taught Home Economics in Friendship, Tennessee for 10-15 years, was Home Demonstration Agent in Dresden (Weakley County), Tennessee, for two years, and then finished her career as a Home Demonstration Agent in Somerville (Fayette County), Tennessee, from October 16, 1964 until March 31, 1985. She began a treasured friendship with the Parsons' family when she baked the refreshments for a bridal shower for Carolyn Tapp who became Mrs. Jerry Parsons on December 18, 1966. She and Jerry Parsons have collaborated on many of the recipes on PLANTanswers and we thank her for her guidance and cooking-recipe translations over the years.