By WYNELLE CAITLIN
A common sight at this time of year are people scrambling around under trees that have funny little clusters all over their tops. Or people are sitting on the ground searching among the leaves. Or stooping over picking up objects from the ground. Or pushing funny looking sticks around.
It’s pecan-picking-up time in Texas!
I decided to join them this year. I’m one of the stooping-over ones.
We eat a lot of pecans, but I began picking them up because it’s good exercise. And it’s an excuse for staying outside in these cooler but “sunshiney” days, my favorite weather for many outside activities, including hiking or picnicking. Or fishing, if I fished.
We don‘t have a pecan tree at our house, but we have a neighbor whose nuts fall into our yard. And along the streets where we take our daily walk, are many trees dropping their nuts onto the sidewalk or street or city-right-of-way.
I found my nutcracker, which is a gadget with a lever. You place the nut, adjust a screw to make it fit, and push the lever down to crack it. Time consuming and doesn’t work that well.
My brother was using a sheller that cuts the ends and sides off a nut, even a hardshell native. It works much better and is faster. When I decided I would pick up pecans to eat, instead of doing it for fun and exercise, I bought one of the shellers.
And became a pecan afficiendo. I keep the nuts from each tree separate. I’ve shelled some from each tree, for taste and to see if they’re filled out properly.
I can identify them by their size and shape. I sit outside in the sunshine to shell the nuts. Nice round brownish ones are from a tree whose nuts fall onto the church parking lot. Larger round ones fall into the street from Bennett’s tree. Small papershell, easy to shell but not as tasty, from a young tree in a city right-of-way. Just down the street, smaller round pecans with a wonderful flavor. Most in my neighborhood are hardshells, a few papershells.