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3 January 2012 (Pecans)

January 3, 2012

Only the third day in to a year of attempting to blog every day and I already found myself wondering, what am I going to blog about today?? Well thank goodness for pecans, I have something to write about.

The first time a co-worker brought in what they call egozim (nuts in Hebrew), I thought it was the toasted and flavored variety sold at stores. But in fact it was picked fresh off the ground in the kibbutz and shelled moments before.

It made me realize I had never eaten a raw, fresh pecan before. I couldn’t believe just how good and flavorful it was.

Since there is always a pile of gathered pecans sitting at work, I decided to take some home one day, only to realize when I showed them to Yuval that our apartment building is in fact, surrounded by four or five pecan trees! This made me realize I had never seen a pecan tree before. I’ll even go far to say that it never occurred to me that pecans grew on trees, and if they did, I somehow thought those trees would be shorter, unlike the 4~5 meter tall trees near our apartment.

This sent Yuval on a pecan gathering, and after three or four gatherings over the course of a week or so, we now have enough pecans to last us for a good few months. (And the ground pretty much wiped clean of nuts!)

And my final realization about pecans: shelling them is a lot of work! My initial plan of spending an hour or so shelling them on a lazy afternoon quickly evaporated when I found myself growing extremely frustrated after only a few attempts. Until I learned to adjust the nutcracker I kept on crushing the pecan to pieces. Even when I was able to crack the nut decently, I rarely was able to shell out “pecan halves” typically seen in any pecan recipe. My fingers hurt from working with the sharp edges of shells. I understood why nuts are so expensive!

I am improving though, enough that I can now consider shelling pecans a pastime instead of a frustrating, back and finger breaking chore. There are also plenty of pecan recipes I want to try but the nuts are so good on their own it may be a while before I take them on.

Update: Yuval wrote a really interesting comment about the history of pecan trees and the kibbutzim. Highly recommended reading! 🙂








Much love,

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yuval permalink
    January 3, 2012 10:37 pm

    A few things about the pecans in general and on the pecans in the Kibbutzim in particular.

    First of all, in order to get the pecan out i half, you need to shortly boil them, and immediately crack and pill them. If you wait even a few minutes, they crack to pieces in the process 😦

    Secondly, a short explanation as to why almost all of the kibbutzim in Israel (and definitely all the kibbutzim I visited) are full of pecan trees.
    As it happened, the kibbutzim in Israel were founded by Socialist Jews who came from eastern Europe (Poland, Russia, Lithuania etc.) where they all had pecan trees growing in abundance, and they used to pick and store them for the winter. As we are talking about the first half of the 20th century, when food shortage was a common thing, having a pecan tree in your garden was a big deal.
    When they moved to Israel and build the kibbutzim they wanted something to remind them of their birth place in cold Eastern Europe and the pecan trees were the answer.
    I still remember from when I was a kid, seeing the old guys of the kibbutz searching the ground like crazy for nuts, arguing about in who’s yard a single meager nut fell, and going basically nuts over it.

    And now I have to go pick up some more nuts now!

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