Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Pecan Tree

Thanks to Sherry I have enjoyed researching and reading about pecan trees this month. I found The Pecan Tree by Jane Manaster and read all kinds of interesting facts about pecans. This book was from the University of Texas Press, so it emphasized a lot of the pecan's Texan heritage. Much of the research and development of pecan trees has come from Texas, and this book named some Texas pecan pioneers - among them a Mr. Edmond E. Risien. Mr. Risien was originally from Kent, England, but he settled in central Texas and supported himself by building cabinets. He must have fallen in love with pecans - either the nut or the wood - because he eventually bought land with pecan trees on it, then developed the ring-budding technique to grow pecans. This brought the price of pecan trees down, which made it more affordable to grow pecans, which made pecan lovers everywhere happy because there could be more pecans! Mr. Risien also developed pecan-lovers by sending samples of his pecans all over the world. Among his recipients were Queen Victoria and Alfred Lord Tennyson. One of the pictures in this book is of a postcard from Tennyson to Risien. It reads:


It is very kind of you to have thought of sending me nuts from your beautiful pecan tree and I thank you most sincerely. My gardener shall try and make them grow here. We consider the walnut the best among our nuts I think, but to us your pecan nuts seem better still. May you live long and happily and see your pecan tree flourish!


Mr. Risien also came up with ways of coping with squirrels. I wonder how well they worked, though. Squirrels seem able to outwit any barrier or trap that I've ever seen or used.

At the end of the book were quite a few pecan recipes. Two I want to try are these:

Guadalupe Valley Barbecued Pecans

2 T. butter

1 T. ketchup

4 c. pecan halves

1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes hot sauce

Melt butter in Dutch oven, remove from heat and add seasoning. Add pecans and stir to coat. Bake in 15x10-inch pan at 400 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes, and shake gently every 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.

Texas Spiced Pecans

1 egg white

1 T. water

3 c. pecan halves

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. cloves

1/4 t. nutmeg

Combine egg white and water. Stir in pecans and coat well. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over pecans. Spread on well-buttered cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring two or three times.



Blogger Sherry said...

I checked this same book out of the library a couple of weeks ago. It was quite informative.

Now I think someone needs to write a children's book featuring pecans.

3:27 PM  
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