Our nutty miniseries continues.
This time I picked pecans. Core of these nuts are hidden in a skin like shell and are very similar to walnut cores, but their taste is much more soft and sweet and doesn’t feature the typical bitterness. Nut is oval of shape, 3 – 6 cm long, outer shell is firm about 1 mm strong.
These nuts come from a deciduous tree originating in Mexico and Southern United States.
Local native American tribes knew them since the dawn of time, even the Algonquian word for “pecan” refers to a nut where a stone is necessary to crack it open. Industrious Neo Americans started to grow pecans after 1766 and cultivate them from 1846, and to such degree that today we know about 500 different kinds of cultivars of “fruity” pecans – fruity because pecans are classified as drupes. Native Americans used its juice as a sweetener and ham or bacon smoked in a pecan wood smoke gave it a very strong taste. Some kinds were a source of oil used for cosmetic purposes.
In our country we can see pecan trees in some parks and gardens but it’s a completely different kind than the usual nut tree. They are a cultivated kind that can survive in our temperate climate. Who knows if they can survive up to 300 years like the American “branch” can, pardon the pun.
Pecan nuts contain up to 70% of fat, as you can see they easily surpass almonds or cashews! Moving on, they contain high amounts of protein, up to 10% another tenth is made up of fiber and 14% of saccharide. These nuts contain provitamin A, vitamins B and E, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Pecan nuts do not naturally contain any cholesterol or sodium.They bring neurological protection and that is thanks to the vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, which helps prevent cell damage and therefore is effective against Alzheimer, Parkinson, cancer and heart diseases.
Pecan nuts are tree nuts and when it comes to antioxidants they are in the top 15 of foods which contain them, others as an example are raspberries, oregano, mint, black currant or blackberries.
Pecans are mostly used to make sweet pies, desserts, muffins, but also bread. They also happen to be very tasty in their raw state. It is also possible to make a nut spread or serve them with cheese.
Nuts can be kept and stored in a dry and cold place even for a whole year.
Peeled pecans can be kept under up to – 15 Centigrade and they last up to 2 years.
When it comes to prices, they are slightly pricier than almonds or cashews so when you google for your local options keep that in mind and don’t skimp on the quality this is the food you eat, arguably the most important thing there is. Keep looking and compare the prices.
Some information I sourced from iReceptář from an article of a Czech botanist professor Václav Větvička, who I respect greatly and would like to express my thanks. First picture is from an article on a website www.magazinzahrada.cz
Thank you, Marky
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