Gourmet Nuts – Why Pecans Are So Good For You
Of all the varieties of gourmet nuts, pecans are one of the most versatile and healthy for you. Often used in desserts, recipes, or as a quick snack, pecans are one of the few gourmet nuts grown in the United States. Let's take a closer look at pecans and their many health benefits …
Pecans: An Overview
Pecan trees are most commonly found in the southern United States, and in the southwest, particularly in Arizona and Texas. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi are also known for their thriving pecan industries. In their natural state, they are covered by a hard shell that protects the nut itself.
Most people have enjoyed these nuts in dessert recipes. Pecan pies are the most common, along with chocolate covered pralines, a mix of caramel, chocolate, and of course pecans. They're also used for an outer coating for fish, with trout being the most popular.
More recently, you can find them as a crunchy ingredient in salads or in holiday stuffing mixes. At breakfast time, pecans are an excellent addition to pancakes, as their taste blends are particularly well with maple syrup. Their uses are many, as over 400 million pounds were consumed last year in the United States, which produces about 80% of the world wide crop.
How To Store Pecans
Pecans can be easily stored in the refrigerator or freezer and will maintain their freshness. If refrigerated, store them in an air tight container or jar and they'll last about eight or nine months.
If you freeze pecans, we recommend a zip lock bag. You can thaw and freeze them without fear of spoiling. They will remain fresh in the freezer for up to two years.
If you buy them unshelled, just store them in a cool dry place. They will maintain their freshness for up to a year.
Health Benefits Of Pecans
Pecans are one of the healthiest snacks you can eat. They are naturally sodium free and contain only unsaturated heart healthy fat. Further, they are particularly beneficial to your immune system, as they contain zinc and vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that helps prevent many types of diseases, like coronary and those affecting the cell system.
To be more specific about their health benefits, there are almost 20 different vitamins and minerals found in this healthy gourmet nut. Among these are calcium, folic acid, potassium, zinc, and vitamin A. Also, they are a very low carbohydrate snack choice and contain no cholesterol.
A small hand of pecans contains about 10% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. That same handy will also supply you about 15% of the daily recommended amount of protein. They are often recommended as a heart healthy snack, especially for those concerned about cholesterol levels.
Not only are pecans versatile, they taste great and they're very good for you. A small hand each day provides natural energy along with the benefit of fiber, protein, and natural antioxidants.
Serve these tasty gourmet nuts as a snack, or use them in your favorite dessert recipes. They're also an ideal addition to salads, stir frys, and as a coating for fish and chicken.