Things You'll Need
Sharp nut pick
The freshness and superior quality of freshly shelled pecans is enough to convince many serious cooks to shell pecans when they need them for cooking and baking. Because both pecans in the shell and shelled have a lengthy storage life, you can easily store them in either the refrigerator or the freezer for an extended time. When you need pecans for your next recipe, shell them yourself and prepare to savor the crisp nuttiness of shelled pecans.
Fill a large bowl approximately two-thirds full with warm water.
Place the pecans (in the shell) into the bowl and make sure the water covers the pecans. Soak the pecans for approximately 30 minutes to prepare them for shelling. Drain the water from the bowl after the time elapses.
Select a pecan and position the nutcracker over the pecan. Squeeze the nutcracker lightly to crack the shell (but not so hard that you break the pecan inside). Open the nutcracker and reposition the pecan inside the nutcracker approximately one-quarter turn. Squeeze the nutcracker again to crack the shell in another place. Continue rotating the pecan and cracking the shell lightly until you can pull the shell away from the pecan.
Set the nutcracker aside and pull the shell pieces from the pecan with your fingers. Discard the shell pieces as you remove them. Continue working until you have removed all pieces of shell to leave the shelled pecan. Place the pecan into the small bowl.
Continue shelling pecans using the same technique until you have as many as you desire or require for your recipe. Transfer the pecans to the airtight container to store them for nine months in the refrigerator or two years in the freezer.
If you have trouble removing the pecan from the shell, use the nut pick to pry it out.
Pecans stored in the freezer may lose flavor over time. If you plan to use the pecans within the refrigeration storage time, store them in the refrigerator rather than the freezer.