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Facts You May Not Know About Pecans

If the extent of your interest in pecans is limited to the roasted pecans for sale at the ball park, it’s time to learn something new. There are some interesting facets to the southern native you likely don’t know, and we are here to help. At the very least, you will be sure to dominate the pecan category in Trivial Pursuit after reading these fun facts.

Let’s start with the food-related tidbits. April is National Pecan Month, but there actually are eight national food holidays tied to the nut. On June 23, be sure to wish everyone you know a Happy Pecan Sandies Day. We can guess what the appropriate gift is for that celebration.

Pecans, coconut and caramel feature prominently in the popular German Chocolate Cake. It’s unclear how that decadent trio became the standard filling for this particular dessert, but if you are getting hungry and want to whip up a batch, click here to find the main ingredient.

Roasting pecans brings out a more intense flavor for sure, but does it destroy all the healthy nutrients inside at the same time? It doesn’t seem so. Pecans are second only to walnuts in terms of the main health-benefit benchmarks. They can be toasted in the oven or on the stove with a quick shuffle in a skillet; your nose will let you know when they are ready.

Pecan oil is the new rage in artisan cooking oils. With a neutral flavor and high smoke point, it offers versatility in the kitchen. It is light and takes on the flavor of whatever it’s being cooked with. It also has less saturated fat than uber-healthy olive oil. The only caveats, in fact, are that it can be difficult to find and that it must be refrigerated after opening.

A member of the hickory family, pecan trees have a two-year growth cycle that means a high yield one year and low production the next. That made it rough on Native American hunter-gatherers centuries ago who relied on the trees for sustenance during their travels along the Gulf Coast and in southern Texas.

Pecans are not a nut at all. They belong in that murky category of fruits called a “drupe,” which also includes stone fruits such as peaches and palms such as coconuts.

The shells left over after a pecan harvest have plenty of uses in their own right. The halves often are used as mulch to aid water retention in flower beds and to keep out slugs, who don’t find jagged shells very pleasant to traverse. Enterprising fuel companies transform shells into pellets for an environmentally friendly source of heat, but just plain shells can be used for the same purpose.

Crushed pecan shells are found as abrasives and cleaners for everything from human skin to oil-well drills, and acid from the shells often is used in the leather tanning industry.

So, the next time you pass the Roasted Pecans For Sale sign at the ball park, remember one of these interesting tidbits. You never know; you may just win a trivia contest one day with the answer to the question “What is a drupe?” For more information about it visit here

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