Whether you call ’em PEE-can or PEH-kahn, they are one of the most sought after nuts around the globe.
A cousin of the walnut, pecans are the only major tree nut native to North America. People love pecans for their versatility: They add a sweet, nutty goodness to breads and cereals, stuffing and spreads, salads and side dishes, entrees and desserts. At the same time, they bring a lot of nutrition to the table.
THE POWER OF PECANS: HEALTH PROPERTIES
Packed with fiber, pecans support healthy digestion and colon health. Some research shows that diets consisting of pecans (and other healthy nuts) can support a healthy body weight and even help people lose weight.
WAYS TO CONSUME MORE PECANS
Your family can enjoy the natural, nutty sweetness of pecans as a snack (plain or roasted), sprinkled over dairy-free yogurt or gluten-free oatmeal (if not grain-free), or sautéed with savory seasonings such as curry powder, sea salt, or paprika. Consider baking with pecans—from gluten-free cookies to dairy-free cheesecake and even homemade dairy-free ice cream.
SHOPPING FOR & STORING PECANS
When purchasing pecans, fresh is best and organic is even better. Look for pecans in the bulk foods section at a grocer that regularly “turns the stock.”
Store pecans, and all nuts, in an airtight package away from heat, preferably in the fridge to retain nutrient content.
PECAN NUT BUTTER RECIPE
It’s sweet. It’s nutty. And it’s oh so good. If you haven’t yet had pecan nut butter, you have to give it a try. The key to exceptional nut butter is the quality of the nut.
Choose the fresh nuts stored in bulk and rotated frequently. Refrigerated, organic nuts are ideal. Toasted pecans blended with a food processor turn out scrumptiously smooth with maple undertones, without any added oil. A pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon enrich the flavor. Try it on your favorite gluten-free breakfast bread or whole grain gluten-free crackers, or smoothe pecan butter over sliced apple.
Recipe yields 1 cup.
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) high quality pecans, either whole or in pieces
- Sea salt, to taste
- Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
1. Pour the pecans into a large skillet and toast, stirring often, over medium heat until fragrant (don’t let them burn!). This will take about 4 to 8 minutes.
2. Pour the toasted pecans into a food processor or high-speed blender and let them cool for several minutes. Then blend the pecans, pausing often to scrape down the sides with a spatula. The mixture will be crumbly at first, but will eventually blend into super-creamy goodness. Be careful not to let the mixture get too hot, which seems to cause oil separation. You might have to stop and let the mixture/machine cool down for a bit just to be safe. The amount of blending time required depends on your machine- an older food processor might take ten to fifteen minutes to turn the pecans into pecan butter, while fancy Blendtec or Vitamix blenders can turn it into butter in a minute or two.
3. Add a pinch of sea salt and a dash of cinnamon (if using). Blend again, taste, and add more salt or cinnamon if needed.
4. Pour into a small jar, seal it with a lid, and store it in the refrigerator for good measure. This pecan butter will keep well, refrigerated, for up to one month or so – obviously, don’t eat it if you see or smell any signs that it has gone bad.
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What’s your favorite way to enjoy the power of pecans? Share in the comments below!
NutritionAndYou.com “Pecans Nutrition Facts” Accessed 6 Feb 2018: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html
Hudthagosol, C., Haddad, E. H. et. al, “Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity and Catechins, and Decrease LDL Oxidation in Humans.” The Journal of Nutrition, 1 (January 2011) 141:1 pages 56–62. Accessed 6 Feb 2018: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/141/1/56/4630660#xref-fn-1-1
Blomohoff, R., Carlsen, M.H,, et al., “Health Benefits of Nuts: Potential Role of Antioxidants” Br J Nutri. (2008 Feb) 99:2, pages 447-48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125534
Health.com “13 Zinc Rich Foods” Accessed 6 Feb 2018: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20929453,00.html#zinc-rich-foods-
Rajaram, S., Burke, K., et al., “A Monounsaturated Fatty Acid-Rich Pecan-Enriched Diet Favorably Alters The Serum Lipid Profile Of Healthy Men And Women.” J Nutr (2001 Sep) 131:9, 2275-79. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11533266
Recipe Source: Cookie and Kate, https://cookieandkate.com/2012/pecan-butter-recipe/