UACES Facebook Christmas Baking for Me Includes Pecans
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Christmas Baking for Me Includes Pecans

TEXARKANA, Ark. – One of my Christmas memories includes sitting at the kitchen table shelling pecans. My grandfather taught me the one to one method, eat one, put one in the bowl, much to my grandmothers’ dislike. Luckily we had enough in the bowl at the end for our Christmas treats. My mother, grandmother and aunts would start the holiday baking cakes, pies, candy, everything you can imagine. Some were for us to eat, but most of the treats were made and carried to friends and neighbors.

            The secret to our treats, starts with quality ingredients. That is definitely the case with pecans. Pecans in the shell are the most economical. Choose those that are clean and free of splits, cracks, stains, or holes. They should feel heavy for their size. 

            If you are purchasing pecans already shelled, look for plump nutmeats which are fairly uniform in color and size. A golden brown color will give you the best pecan. Purchase halves for garnishes, and pieces for the remainder of your baking needs. Pieces will be cheaper than halves, and will save you chopping time.

            When stored properly, pecans will hold their freshness for up to two years in the freezer, unshelled. Unshelled pecans resist insects and aging much longer than shelled nuts; however, shelling before storage reduces their bulk by approximately one-half.  Shelled or unshelled pecans may be kept refrigerated in airtight containers for about nine months. Some acceptable containers include; glass jars and lids with plastic gaskets; zipper type freezer bags with air removed, or plastic containers with tight fitting lids.

When purchasing pecans, remember that a pound of in-shell pecans will yield approximately two and one fourth cups of nutmeat. Twelve pecan halves will yield 3 tablespoons of chopped nutmeat. For every pound of nutmeat; you will need two and one-half pounds of good quality pecans.

Pecans are a good source of protein and important vitamins and minerals, including iron, phosphorous, calcium and thiamin. They also provide fiber, which is important in our diets. 

Pecans contain about the same amount of fat as other nuts. A one ounce serving (20 halves or one-fourth cup) contains 195 calories and will contribute 19 grams of fat to your diet. Of those 19 grams, 12 grams will be monounsaturated, 5 grams polyunsaturated, and 2 grams saturated. 

            If you are looking for top quality, this year's pecans for your holiday baking needs, or to give as gifts, the Miller County 4-H Foundation is selling local, this year's crop, paper shell pecans as their fund-raising project.  They are available cracked in 5 pounds bags for $15.00. Quantities are limited.

            If you would like to receive our pecan handout with tips and recipes, or to order your new crop pecans, contact the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Miller County in the Miller County Courthouse, Suite 215, call 870-779-3609, or e-mail me at may also follow me on twitter @MillerCountyFCS or

            I love to make these pecans to have around the house for friends and family, plus to give as gifts.

Glazed Pecans


1 egg white

4 teaspoons water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, beat the egg until frothy; whisk the water and vanilla into the egg. Stir the sugar, cinnamon, and salt into the egg mixture. Add the pecans; stir to coat completely. Spread the pecans onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast the pecans in the preheated oven, stirring about every 15 minutes, until the coating forms a glaze, about 1 hour. Allow to cool on the baking sheet at least 10 minutes before serving. Makes approximately 4 cups.  


By Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley Hadley M.S.
County Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service