Written by Karen Bates (last updated April 22, 2016)
Nuts are a favorite snack for many people. Nuts, which are often high in protein and nutrients, are a tasty treat that can be enjoyed in many ways. Some people like them baked into desserts or thrown into trail mixes, while others would prefer to eat them plain.
One nut variety that is especially delicious is the pecan. Pecans can be used in a variety of recipes and are versatile and delicious. They can be featured in desserts, main dishes, sauces, salad toppings, and more.
Pecan nuts are grown on the pecan tree, which is native to America. Interestingly, although pecans are often referred to as nuts, they are in reality considered a type of fruit. Pecans have hard shells that must be broken and removed before use. If you are storing pecans they will last longer if you leave the shells on until you will be using them.
When picking out pecans, look for nuts that are plump and clean if they are shelled. If you are choosing unshelled pecans, shake the nut and listen. If you notice that there is jiggling and rattling inside, the nut within may be smaller than desired. To store pecans, keep them cool and tightly wrapped to help prevent them from going rancid. You can usually keep unshelled pecans for around six months, and for half that long if the shell has been removed. You can keep them in a cool place, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
Pecans have a delicious flavor that is often described as buttery, and these nuts goes well in many recipes. One of the best-known dessert recipes featuring pecans is pecan pie. This rich pie consists of pecans and other ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, eggs, and syrup, cooked together with a crust. Although this is likely the most popular way to use pecans, you can enjoy them alone or in other recipes like cookies, ice cream, with meats, salads, in trail mixes, and more.
Pecans are high in fat and rich with nutrients and antioxidants. Many praise pecans for their health benefits, and claim that this nut helps to lower cholesterol. Pecans are also a good source of protein and fiber.
However you enjoy pecans, these nuts have the potential to make a great snack, a yummy dessert ingredient, or a delicious dinner addition. Choose the best quality pecans and store them correctly for best results.
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