What Is Pecans?
The pecan (/pkaen/ pih-KAN, also US: /pkn/ pih-KAHN, UK: /pikn/ PEE-Can; Carya illinoinensis) is a species of hickory that is endemic to the area of the Mississippi River that includes the southern United States and northern Mexico. The seed of the tree is predominantly farmed for human use in the states of Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States, as well as in Mexico. The seed may be eaten as a nut and is also an ingredient in a variety of baked goods and candies, such as praline and pecan pie. Pecans are the official state nut of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, and Texas, while the pecan tree is the official state tree of Texas.
Growth Of Pecans:
Pecan trees are massive deciduous trees that may reach heights of 20-40 meters (66-131 feet) on rare occasions. It may grow as tall as 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) and as wide as 12 meters (39 feet). In ideal circumstances, a sapling will reach a height of roughly 5 meters (16 feet) after 10 years. The leaves are alternate, 30-45 centimeters (12-18 inches) in length, and pinnate with 9-17 leaflets. Each leaflet is 5-12 centimeters (2-4+12 inches) in length and 2-6 centimeters (1-2+12 inches) in width.
Despite its common name, the pecan is not really a nut but rather a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit covered by a husk. The exocarp of the flower is responsible for the production of the husks, while the endocarp forms the nut, which houses the seed. The husk itself is aeneous, or a brassy greenish-gold tint, and is between 2.6 and 6 centimeters (1-2 and 3/8 inches) in length and 1.5 to 3 centimeters (5 eighths to 1 and 1 eighths of an inch) in width. The thin-shelled seed is protected by a green outer husk that matures to a brown color and then breaks apart into four pieces.
How to Cook With Pecans?
Pecans that have had their shells removed may be enjoyed as a snack by themselves, raw or toasted, or as an addition to a cheese board or grazing board. They are often included in nut mixtures sold in stores as well as trail mixes. Pecans that have been chopped may be used as a topping for a variety of foods, including salads, pastas, gratins, cheese balls, vegetable dishes, soups, desserts, and more. Apples and pears, as well as other fresh, cooked, or dried fruits, are often served with them.
Pecans may be used in baked products either whole, chopped, or crushed; however, pecan halves are often used as a decorative topping for baked goods such as cookies, pies, and cakes. In addition, they may be candied or spiced on their own, or they can be utilized as an ingredient in recipes for candies or chocolate confections. They are also a wonderful addition to ice cream, either as a component of the ice cream itself or as a topping.
What Do They Taste Like?
Pecans have a taste that is unmistakably sweet and buttery, as well as a scent that is subtly flowery and woodsy. The outside of the nut has a little bitter flavor, while the meat on the inside is sugary, buttery, and nearly greasy tasting. The nut kernel may break apart, nearly just as a cookie would. In point of fact, the nut itself has a general sweet flavor, virtually identical to that of cookies or sweets. When you bite down on it, you can feel the rich oils of the nut being released, and the texture is hard but airy and satisfyingly crunchy.
Pecans are an excellent source of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent food choice for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, teeth, bones, muscles, and nerves.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Nutrients per Serving
- Calories: 196
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Fat: 20.5 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Copper: 38% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 16% of the DV
- Zinc: 12% of the DV
- Magnesium: 8% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
- Iron: 4% of the DV
Health Benefits Of Pecans:
Pecans are an excellent source of the blood pressure-lowering minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and eating them regularly may help decrease your blood pressure. Pecans contain mostly monounsaturated fat, which is considered to be a heart-healthy form of fat. Eating foods rich in monounsaturated fat rather than those high in saturated fats (like potato chips, for example) may help reduce levels of the LDL cholesterol that is considered to be the “bad” cholesterol.
How To Add Pecans To Your Diet:
Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips when you have the need for something crunchy to nibble on, grab a handful of pecans. Prepare a number of snack-size baggies with 19 pecan halves each so that you will have them on hand for the next time you find yourself feeling hungry. Store one in your bag or backpack so you always have access to a nutritious snack on the move.
Pecans have a sweetness that comes from their natural state, so eating them when you have a hankering for anything sweet is an excellent alternative to eating candy. If you want to make a healthier version of chocolate chip pancakes, muffins, or cookies, try substituting raw pecan bits for the chocolate chips. Raw pecan bits, when sprinkled on top of foods like salads, cereal, quinoa, or yogurt, provide both a satisfying crunch and a healthy dose of protein.
The pecan tree, also known as Carya illinoinensis, is a native species that may be found in the temperate parts of North America. It is a member of the family Juglandaceae, which is often known as the walnut family. In addition to having a taste and consistency that are distinctive and luxurious, pecans have one of the highest fat contents of any vegetable product and a calorie count that is on par with that of butter. Pecans also have one of the highest protein contents of any vegetable product.