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Thursday, February 25

Free (Train)


Organic pecan butter is one of my favorite treats.  It's also $18 per teeny-tiny jar.   Heck, the organic pecans alone are $16 / lb, on sale, at the store.  I love to eat well, but I'm also cheap.  It's a constant battle...
Luckily, we have several pecan trees in our yard....and children who proclaim to be 'bored.'  Well, they used to.  I don't think they'll make that mistake next year.  Some years, the pecans fall like rain.  Other years, there's nary a nut to be found.  This was a feasting year.
Picking up pecans in the fallen leaves is a bit like Mother Nature's Ultimate Word Search puzzle.  *chuckle*  But the payoff is excellent.  After some negotiations, we agreed to pay the children a percentage of what we saved by making our own pecan butter, and they decided to pick up a few more buckets, in spite of the visual difficulty.
After being cracked and blown (removes them from the shell by machine; sort of), we were left with sixty pounds of pecans!  That may sound like a lot, and it is, but we still had oodles of them on the ground....which the squirrels will be happy to take care of for us.  We spent a week separating shell from meat, and then set to work on the pecan butter.  We used the shell pieces in our winter garden to aerate the soil and provide some nutrients for the coming spring.
As we separated shell from meat, we tossed the whole meats into a separate bowl.  These will be used for pecan pie and other recipes that call for whole meats in the future.  The smaller pieces were being used to make nut butter.  However, the food processor chose this week to stop working (guess what mom got for Christmas...), so we used the old salad shooter to crush the meats.  It worked fairly well, but I'd recommend a food processor if you have one.  Then we mixed in the spices and jarred the butter.  You'll find the full recipe below.
All in all, not a bad deal.  Mom got several jars of good-quality, homemade pecan butter, and the boys got their new Lego Ninjago set they'd been saving up for.  .............and they all lived happily ever after.

Cocoa-Cinnamon Pecan Butter
  1. Soak the nut meats overnight in water.  This will make the nuts easier to process, and easier to digest.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Pour the meats in your food processor (or salad shooter, as the case may be).
  4. Chop them into teeny tiny bits.
  5. For every cup of chopped nuts, mix in 1 Tbsp of cinnamon and 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder.
  6. Stir well.  Really well.  Mash as you stir.  Then, stir again.
  7. Spoon the mixture into jars.  Mash and squash as you spoon it in there.
  8. Refrigerate and use within a month.  
  9. Freeze the extra jars.  Use them within a month after thawing.
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