One of the things I love about San Antonio—and Texas—is the fact that pecan trees are everywhere. This means that come the latter part of the Fall, pecans are all over the ground. The only problem with this nut is that they are hard to shell, particularly the native pecans.
But the cost of shelled pecans has continued to rise, namely because of the recent love that the people in China have for the nut. Because of this, I prefer to shell my own pecans rather than pay an astronomical amount for the pecans in the grocery store. Unfortunately, with a plain ole nutcracker this can take quite a bit of time (two years ago I watched three different movies and had only a small amount of pecans to show for my efforts).
In search for a better sheller, I reached out to the Red Hill General Store to see if they would send me several different varieties to test out. You can see how the different varieties worked out for me in the video above, but if you are more incline for text, this is how they fared.
The Texan York Pecan Sheller
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t actually use the Texas York Pecan Sheller to crack the nut. Rather the teeth are used to clip off the ends and then the side. Doing this makes it pretty each to open up the pecan and get the nut out. While I imagine that this sheller would be awesome for the larger paper shell pecans, I found that it was a little difficult to maneuver with the smaller native pecans. However, it worked well in combination with another pecan sheller listed below.
The Duke Easy Pecan Sheller
This contraption allows you to set the general width of the pecans you are shelling with a screw. You then use the handle on the Duke Easy Pecan Sheller to crack open the pecan. The positives of this sheller are that (1) it can crack the smaller native pecan and (2) you can go through a large amount of pecans rather quickly. I did find, however, that it was hard to extract the pecan from the shell with this particular sheller. So while it may be easy to use, you spend a lot of time on the backend separating the nut from the shell.
The Inertia Pecan Nutcracker
By far the most fun pecan sheller to use was the Inertia Pecan Nutcracker. While it is a little tricky to set up, you essentially load a pecan in the chamber of this sheller, pull back a handle that has tension due to a rubber band and let her rip! The force sandwiches the pecan between two hard surfaces and then *crack*! While this sheller does take a little time to load, I found that the results are particularly good, cracking the shell in a way that makes it easy to retrieve nice, full halves of pecans. If you don’t get quite a good separation, have the Texan York Sheller on hand to quickly clip the ends—this will save your fingers from getting sore trying to pry off the shell.
For my money, I found that the combination of the Texas York Sheller and the Inertia Pecan Nutcracker to be quite handy. I was able to shell a decent amount of pecans rather quickly (though I do have a huge bag left to go!). While I haven’t used the Duke Easy Pecan Sheller with the paper shell pecans, I imagine that it would be quite good at cracking the softer pecan shells. At any rate, with the prices of pecans continuing to rise give these crackers a shot to save some money.
The Red Hill General Store provided these pecan shellers to me for free upon my request.