THE PECAN TREE

Pecan Milk | for the love of the south

Outlined against the illuminating midwinter sky, delicate black branches of the pecan tree gently wave like arthritic hands toward heaven in prayer. Emerald fruit the size of a newborn’s fist are scattered under the bowing boughs of the ancient pecan tree. Mossy jackets peel away like damp pieces of cardboard, revealing a black and brown tiger striped shell.

My grandfather is one of the most patient men I have ever met, and, therefore, the caretaker of the pecan trees. He is tender at heart, wrinkled around the eyes and deeply rooted. After gathering the pecans, he perches himself at the vast wooden kitchen table, his mighty, weathered hand grasps the pewter cracker. The weight of the metal breaks the shell, exposing the tender, sweet, earthy meat of the pecan. Meticulously separating the two halves from the center of the nut, he carefully places the pecans in labeled bags, with the exception of the occasional stragglers that just have to be tasted. It’s a sweet reward for tending to his beloved pecan trees.

Pecan Milk | for the love of the south

Some years, the tree would be barren, either from drought or an autumn storm, which would strip the tree of all its green fruit. But, then, it’s prolific once again, as in life. Even though this past year the steadfast tree hasn’t produced well, he is still patient and tends to it, like a member of the family, waiting and caring for the tree in gentle spirits.

Pecan Milk Ingredients | for the love of the south

Recipe: Homemade Louisiana Pecan Milk

Makes 4 servings

Note: Making this recipes is like bottling pecan essence. If you can’t get your hands on Louisiana pecans, use whatever you can find. Just know there will be a difference in flavor when using grocery store pecans rather than fresh, local ones.

You can reuse the leftover strained pecan meal if you don’t like the idea of tossing it. I add some of the damp meal to cornbread batter, pancake batter or biscuit dough. It’s also yummy stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. You can also add it to a vanilla ice cream base to make a quick pecan ice cream!

1 cup of Louisiana pecan halves

2 tablespoons of local honey

Pinch of kosher salt

Place pecans in a bowl and cover with water by 2-inches. Let stand at least 12 hours (the longer the pecans soak, the creamier and smoother the milk with be.)

Drain pecans and discard the soaking liquid. Place pecans, honey and salt in a blender. Add 4 cups of hot, filtered water to the blender and blend on low speed, increasing to high for at least 2 minutes.

Strain pecan milk through a tea towel or a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized bowl, pressing down on the solids. Toss or reuse the pecan meal (see note above.) At this point, adjust the sweetness and saltiness of the milk to taste. You can also add more water if you desire a thinner milk. I usually double strain my pecan milk, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can make the milk to your desired taste and texture! Enjoy!

Honeycomb + Sea Salt | for the love of the south

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20 thoughts on “THE PECAN TREE

    • Joana,
      Hazelnut milk sounds lovely! I am partial to pecans because it’s such a familiar flavor to me. Louisiana pecans are my favorite, but, honestly, just use whatever pecan you can find there in Porto,Portugal! I’m sure it will come out wonderfully.
      x
      Amber

  1. Hello,
    This is fantastic! Often, I’ll make pecan milk from our local pecans here in Arizona & it always tastes heavenly, especially if it is used for hot cocoa. I am new to your blog and normally, I’d admire content without commenting, but it is absolutely beautiful! I just had to say hello. Think I’ll stay awhile, if you don’t mind 😉

    Wishing you a lovely day,
    Sherala

    • Sherela,
      Thank you so much for the kind words! I need to try this in hot chocolate… I bet that is amazing! Thank you for stopping by, and, yes, please stay for awhile! So happy you took time to say a quick hello!
      x
      Amber

    • Grand Baby Cakes,
      Steadfast is THE perfect word! I’m so glad you have a grandfather that is strong and steady like mine. I’m so blessed. Thank you for the kind words! This one was a delight to write and photograph. I love when readers are able to find themselves in the stories! It makes my heart happy!
      x
      Amber

  2. I have a yard full of pecans every November, so I’ll have to remember this new idea! I’ve followed your blog for a while and wanted to tell you that my son has just been accepted to Samford! He looks like a red headed – high school version of your handsome husband!
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

    • Hey there lady!
      I recognized your name from my Southern C family! CONGRATS!!!! That is wonderful news! I’m so thrilled for y’all. Going to Samford was one of the best things that happened to me. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I didn’t have the professors at that school encouraging me and allowing me to follow my dreams. It’s a beautiful campus too! I loved living in Birmingham, and I still visit there often. I know he will love it! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful news with me! I’m so honored.
      x
      Amber

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  4. This warmed my heart. I grew up in North Mississippi with nothing but pecan trees outside our doors. It was a family activity for all of us to go pick pecans every winter. Our family in Iowa always only requests pecans for Christmas every year, and now that I’ve moved to Nashville, I’m going to anxiously await the post every winter since my mom will have to add me to the mailing list! I can’t wait to try this!

    • Rebekah,
      Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing that sweet memory of you growing up in North Mississippi! Pecans for Christmas is the best gift ever. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
      x
      Amber

    • Adam,
      Thank you, Adam! I love how this milk turned out. I’ve done this before with almonds but adding the pecans brings the milk to a whole new level! It’s a childhood flavor that is precious to me.
      x
      Amber

    • Gintare,
      You are too kind! I love when I am able to connect with the reader, not just through photography or a recipe, but with the story that inspires the whole post. Thank you so much for the encouragement!
      x
      Amber

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  6. Just found your site today thru Pinterest. So happy to be a new fan, really enjoying your recipes and stories, reminds me of my Southern life. It is so wonderful to be a Southerner with so many wonderful memories and the kitchen to share them. Thank you a whole bunch for sharing your memories and wonderful Southern recipes.
    I’m a northwest Florida native, born and raised.

    • Lindy,
      I’m so happy you stumbled upon this space! Welcome! I love being able to share my stories of growing up in the South and the modern recipes that accompany each post!
      x
      Amber

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