As August winds down, our wonderful fresh veggies and stone fruits are gradually going away here in the South. Oh, how we will miss them! As harvest season approaches for apples, pears, and pecans, I am already planning my fall recipes. My grandparents were farmers, and every fall we prepared ourselves for the “picking up” pecan season. I always thought it was fun walking in the orchards and seeing how many pecans we could gather. All of us cousins had the best time!
My Dad’s parents’ home had a huge walnut tree growing right up next to the house. The reality is they probably built the house in that spot for shade during sweltering summers. Not in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that a delicious walnut grew inside those tennis ball-size green shells. At night, when you were almost asleep, one of those massive things would fall from the tree and hit the tin roof on the house. Wow! That took some getting used to.
Shelling pecans was torture for me, but my dad loved it. He knew that soon enough the kitchen would fill with the aroma of scrumptious pecans roasting in the oven. Dad would put a pan full of pecan halves in the oven with butter and salt. Then the never-ending slow roasting would begin. One little whiff of those pecans cooking was enough to drive us crazy. Dad devoted himself to the slow roasting process, firmly believing it was worth the wait. Each time he opened the oven door to stir them was a tease to each of us!
Another fall favorite at our house was boiled peanuts. You simply start with green peanuts (unroasted) fresh from the field, wash them, and put them in boiling salty water (in the shell). Now I can just see many of your shaking your head at the thought of a boiled peanut, but that is a marvelous dish for a Saturday afternoon of watching football.