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National Pecan Month

April is National Pecan Month

Pecans are an edible nut that can be eaten and enjoyed as a snack, in meat and vegetable entrees, or as a desert. They can be eaten raw, straight out of the shell, roasted, or cooked in many delicious recipes.

  • Pecans are used in baked goods such as pies, cookies, breads, cakes, and pastries.

  • They are very popular in frozen deserts such as ice cream, non-dairy frozen treats, sorbets, and yogurts.

  • Pecans are great in hot and cold cereals.

  • They are added to salads and used as toppings on other foods.

  • Pecans are also used to make different types of candies, but are most notable for their use in praline candy.

Pecans can be kept fresh and ready to use for up to six months or longer. They keep well in their shells and can be frozen or sealed in air tight bags or containers.

Pecans trees are native to America and are in the Hickory tree family. They produce nuts that are medium brown in color, have a smooth shell, and can be found in different sizes ranging from small, medium, large and extra large.

Native Americans harvested and ate pecans as an important source of food well before the first Europeans landed on American shores. In fact, the word "Pecan" gets it's name from the Algonquian Indians. It means "nut requiring a stone to crack".

Although early Americans loved pecans, they grew wild and were eaten as a delicacy when found. Pecans were not cultivated as a food crop until the late 1800's. Today, there are more than 10 million pecan trees under cultivation that produces over 200 thousand tons of nuts each year. Although other countries grow pecans, the United States produces over 80% of the world's supply.

Although high in calories, the good benefits from eating pecans outweigh the bad.

  • Pecans are high in healthy unsaturated fat that helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease

  • They help lower blood cholesterol levels.

  • They contain antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, fiber, and minerals that help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals such as radiation, cigarette smoke, and other pollutants.

  • Pecans preserve "high density lipoproteins" known as "good cholesterol".

The wood from pecan trees are also valuable in the making of furniture. It is a hardwood that varies in color and grain and is used for making dining room, end, and coffee tables, benches, chairs, cabinets, desks, and other furniture. It is also used as floor boards and wall paneling.

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