Pecans are a truly native tree to North America. Their origins can be traced back to the 1500s and the name pecan was derived from the Algonquin tribe’s word to describe how stones are used to cracked the nuts. Georgia and Texas are some of the largest pecan producers in the United States. However, many people believe that Pecans originated in Texas.
In fact, Texans have always been fond and proud of their pecans that in 1913, the Pecan tree officially became the State Tree; and in 2001, Pecan Nuts became the Official Health Nut.
Pecan Jelly Trivia
- Pecans have a long historical essence in the United States. Colonists have long foraged pecans, treating these nuts as a delicacy. It was only in the 1800s when Pecans were commercially produced. Thomas Jefferson famously gifted the other Founding Fathers some pecans from the tree he planted.
- Pecan is native to North America. In fact, it got its name from the Native American word which means to use stones to crack and open nuts.
Pecan Jelly Buying Guide
Pecan jelly can be purchased in grocery stores, department stores, or even online. However, check the label to identify the ingredients used in the production. Commercially produced pecan jelly contains preservatives, chemicals, and additives that can harm a person’s health. If you want to purchase homemade, natural, or artisan-made products, then check your local farmer’s markets or check the nearest artisan food stalls available in your area.
Pecan Jelly Production & Farming in Texas
Texans always have a soft spot for Pecans since they are the only commercially grown nuts in Texas. Researchers believe that Pecans have been growing and thriving in Texas since prehistoric times. That’s a lot of time for the plant to evolve and adjust to the ever-changing landscape and extreme weather.
Pecan trees require loose, well-watered, and deep soils for planting, along with 200 or more frost-free days. Pecans are uniquely harvested by shaking the trees allowing the nuts to fall to the ground. Traditional ways of sorting nuts are done by hand making it a labor of love among producers.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Jams, jellies, and preserves are made with four basic ingredients: fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar.
Fruit is the base for any jams, jellies, or preserves. It is essential to use firm and ripe fruit for jams as over-ripe fruits will result in a liquidy set. Meanwhile, an under-ripe fruit will have fewer juices and under-developed flavors. Taste the fruits first before using them on your jam.
Pectin is essential to achieve the gel-like consistency of the jam. In simpler terms, pectin is necessary to set the jam. It is important to know the difference between pectin and gelatin. Pectin is a natural starchy substance usually found in fruits while gelatin is derived from animals. Certain types of fruits have different pectin levels. Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches are low in pectin meanwhile blackberries, currants, cranberries, and eastern concord grapes have a high pectin content.
Sugar is another essential ingredient in jams, jellies, and preserves. While people think sugar is just a sweetener, it is much more than that. Sugar is essential in retaining the shape and texture of the fruit. In the case of low-sugar jams, they have a shorter shelf-life because of their consistency. Low-sugar jams should also be paired with low-sugar pectin to successfully achieve the texture. Otherwise, the unsuccessful chemical reaction would result in a less desirable texture.
Citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid are commonly used in jams and jellies. Acids are essential to bind and form the pectin. Most people can easily purchase powdered forms of acid, but the acid of lemon juice or other citrus fruits would suffice.
Safely canning jams, jellies, and preserves are essential to maintain their flavors and lengthen their shelf-life. The Boiling Water Method for Pecan Jelly is one of the most reliable. To do this, prepare the canning jars filled with food and completely submerge them in boiling water at 212°F.
Certain measures should be done before doing the boiling water method. Check the cans to ensure they are safe for food packaging and consumption. Look for cracks, chipped edges, and even tiny scratches. Discard the jars if you can find any of these inconsistencies. This is an essential step since any small cracks or chips can be triggered by heat during the boiling process.
Also check the rubber lid to ensure that there are no mold growths since any mold could spoil an entire glass. Never use the metal covers if there are patches or specks of rust since it can also contaminate the pecan jellies, making them unsafe for consumption.
Enjoying Pecan Jelly
Texans have countless ways to eat pecan jelly. However, it’s best to be enjoyed in desserts in order to let the pecan flavors shine. Since pecans are the State Nut of Texas, it would be justifiable to bake some pecan jelly cookies, or add some pecan jelly to pecan pies, muffins and cupcakes, pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
Properly storing either commercially-produced or homemade pecan jelly will determine how long you can keep the flavor quality and shelf-life. All unopened artisan-made jams, should be stored in a cool, dark place, and should be consumed within a year. although, you can consume it for a maximum of three to six months to enjoy the flavors as time will modify the flavors, colors, and textures of the jam.
Once opened, always refrigerate the pecan jelly and consume it within two to three weeks since the jams will deteriorate faster once opened and exposed to varying temperatures.
Always check for signs of spoilage before eating the jelly. Those with mold or yeast growth in the lids or the glass wall and having fermented or yeasty odors should be immediately discarded.
PECAN PIE JELLY
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup granulated white sugar
a pinch of salt
1 Tbsp heaping brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup water
- In a medium saucepan combine coffee in butter cook on medium heat until the butter has melted. Add sugars, salt, pecans, and maple syrup. Cook until the sugar had dissolved completely.
- When the pecan mixture just begins to boil add cornstarch mixture and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Pour into jars allow to cool and refrigerate.
- Use within 2 to 3 weeks.