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Trick to cracking thin shell pecans?

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A dear friend in Texas sent a big bag of thin-shell pecans for Christmas. We began shelling them tonight and couldn't figure out the best system for cracking them and getting both halves intact. We kept ending up with broken pecans that we had to dig out.

Do you crack around the pecan and then from end to end? Or just one crack end to end? Any suggestions welcome.

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  1. Are you shelling a good amt for using all at once, or are you shelling them ALL at once to store them shelled, or, are you shelling them one by one for eating?
    For eating, and for a decent amt for using in a recipe, I use the two hand,two pecan method. It's a little low tech, but once you get a feel for it, you get whole nutmeat pretty much every time. I have no better way for shelling copious amounts all at once, maybe someone else does? Anyway, place two pecans side by side, pointy side up in one hand. Close that hand around the nuts, and then squeeze your two hands together. It doesn't take much pressure, and you need to turn the nuts around in the one hand every second or so until you find the right spots. After a few practices, you'll get the hang of it. Without a fancy tool, or machine, I know of no other way to open them with enough sensitivity to only crush the outer shell just enough to pick out the meat intact. There's probably got to be a better way, but for like a cup of pecan halves, once you get the hang of it, it'll take like 15 min. Growing up with three pecan trees in the yard, xmas season ninghts shelling pecans at the coffee table with the entire family was a tradition for many years. And just for eating. Secret delicious treat: get a pile of pecans, and a pile of candy canes. Crack the pecans, and each time you get a piece of nutmeat, take a little nibble of candy cane, and chew them together. We'd do this all night long for dessert at the dining room table, or living room coffee table.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gordeaux

      What a nice memory. Thanks for the info. I find myself with a big of these nuts too. Pralines and candied pecans if I don't destroy all them all.

    2. brendastarlet...how ironic that you just helped me out with my post and I came here to put in my two-cents worth only to see your name as the op!! I have to agree with Bordeaux....I grew up with pecan trees in our yard, also, and we used to crack them and sell them for $1.25 a quart (have times ever changed). We also used the two pecans in one hand method, made a fist and covered it with the other hand to apply pressure. It never failed and the pecans came out whole %99 of the time. If you want, pliers will work, too, but the 'two in the hand' is by far the best method and the meat will be intact. Good luck! Are you going to bake/broil them with butter and salt? Geez, now I'm dying for pecans. Enjoy. ;-)

      3 Replies
      1. re: heyjude

        I second two-in-the-hand. Rotate them a quarter turn between cracks.

        1. re: Joebob

          Thanks to everybody -- the two-handed method it will be! I love the idea of nuts and candy cane. We also had them with chocolate the other night, and they were great.

          Bake broil with butter and salt? YUM.