What Do Our Bulk Pecans Taste Like?
Bulk pecans, or just “pecans” come from a Mexican-native deciduous tree, known scientifically as Carya illinoinensis. They are smooth brown nuts, but are considered “drupes” or stone fruits, which are fruits that harbor a single seed inside.
What is Needed For Pecans to Grow?
Pecan trees favor a hot and humid summer climate and a cool winter for optimal growth and production. They require fertile, well-draining soil, and can grow to over 130 feet tall. Pecan trees are able to bear fruit for up to 300 years of age.
A History Of Pecans
For thousands of years, Native Americans traded and used pecans as a food source. Europeans discovered them sometime in 1500 AD, when Spanish explorers visited the regions that we now know as Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. They brought the pecan tree into the “Old World,” namely Europe, Asia, and Africa, shortly thereafter.
Where Are Pecans Grown?
Today, pecans are grown in small amounts all over the world. Approximately 80-95% of the bulk pecans global production comes from the United States. A total of fifteen U.S states grow pecans each year, with Georgia being the U.S state that produces the most pecans annually.
Pecans grown outside North America are subject to come from four of the seven continents; Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia. The non-U.S countries that do the most pecan-growing are China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Israel, Peru, and South Africa.
Annual harvesting of bulk pecans usually occurs in mid-October and can last into November. As with most other drupes, pecans are either shaken from their trees or picked off the ground after naturally falling. They then need to dry inside their shells for up to two weeks before they’re able to be peeled and consumed.
The Nutrition Of Pecans
It’s important to give the body what it needs to make absorbing nutrients for energy and eliminating waste hassle-free. Many people lack the recommended dietary allowance, or “RDA” of essential nutrients, causing sluggish gastrointestinal systems, general fatigue, and weight gain, among other serious illnesses. Consuming raw nuts, especially pecans, is a fantastic way to aid the body in its dietary functions.
Much like walnuts, pecan nutrition displays a nut that’s fiber dense, packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, and more than 19 vitamins and minerals.
Pecans Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Pecans are fiber-rich and healthy in monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are a favorable alternative to saturated and trans fats. They are known to increase your hearts LDL, or bad cholesterol.
The benefit to consuming healthier fats is that they can lower your hearts bad cholesterol, while strengthening your hearts good cholesterol (HDL), thus creating a stronger heart and preventing the risk of coronary heart failure. If you are trying to watch your cholesterol levels, pecans are a highly favorable alternative to foods with saturated and trans fats.
Pecans Are Full Of Antioxidants
The human body goes through oxidative damage from dietary and environmental stressors every day. Antioxidants combat this damage caused by harmful molecules called “free radicals,” which are linked to blood vessel disease, skin aging, and cancer.
A diet rich in antioxidants is beneficial for keeping the skin appear young, hydrated and healthy, while keeping the immune system strong. Due to their profound antioxidant benefits, the USDA has ranked pecans as the most antioxidant-rich tree nut.
Vitamin And Mineral Composition
Pecans are loaded with an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals for the body to absorb and thrive on. These are the vitamins and minerals found in pecans along with a description of how they support the body.
Minerals In Pecans
Minerals in pecans include iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Manganese is crucial for creating connective tissue and sex hormones as well as blood sugar regulation. Calcium and phosphorus are helpful in maintaining strong bones, nails, and tooth enamel, while potassium and magnesium are crucial in heart function and muscle contraction. Copper is also important for red blood cell production and can act as an antioxidant. Selenium plays a role in thyroid function and helps the body rid itself of free-radicals, while zinc supports the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful viruses and bacteria.
Given this information, it’s no wonder pecans are considered to be one of the most healthy foods nature provides.
Pecan Fiber, Protein, And Calories
One ounce of pecans – 8 whole nuts or 15-20 halves, contains 10% DV of fiber, 2.7 grams of protein, and is roughly 200 calories.
Culinary Uses of Pecans
People have been happily consuming pecans for centuries. Certainly, they are especially popular for dessert because they balance well with sweetness. Here are some of the best uses of pecans
- Incorporate crushed or halved pecans into cookie and brownie batters for a soft, healthy crunch
- Pecan pie
- Pecan halves find their home in other sorts of confections such as candy and cakes
- Add ground pecans to chicken or fish before baking or sautéing them
- Toss them into a fruit and nut trail mix for more variety
- Sprinkle pecans on top of ice cream as a substitute for sugary sprinkles
- Enjoy a handful of crispy, crunchy pecans all on their own
Some non-culinary uses of pecans and their counterparts might surprise you.
Pecan wood is known to create a smooth, fruity taste when used for smoking meats. It’s also highly favorable for hardwood flooring and furniture.
Pecan shells are considered the waste of the tree and can be put to good use in compost or soil. They later prove beneficial to plants that thrive in acidic soil. Namely, hydrangeas, azaleas, and blueberry bushes.
Storage and Shelf Life of Pecans
Notably for their high oil content, we advise against long-term storage of bulk pecans in your pantry. Equally important, store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to nine months or your freezer for up to a year. Doing this will allow you to keep them fresh for as long as possible, without their natural flavor being compromised. In short, if you plan to use your bulk pecans within a week or a month of buying them – the pantry will suffice. Just make sure the container or bag you have them in is completely sealed.
Additional Bulk Pecan Facts:
- Commercial growing and cultivation of pecans began in the United States in the 1800s.
- July 12th is National Pecan Pie Day.
- The word “pecan” was coined by the Native Americans referring to nuts that require a stone to crack.
- Approximately 78 pecans is what chefs use to make the average pecan pie.
- Pecans share a genus with hickory trees.
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