Friday, March 25, 2011
Happy Pecan Day! Not to be confused with National Pecan Day on April 14th. It is such a popular nut, it garnered two holidays.
Pecans are most popular in desserts such as pies, cookies, and candies, but also make an interesting addition to salads, stuffings, chicken or fish coating, and other savory main or side dishes. They are also delicious whole, toasted and spiced, or covered with chocolate.
Even though pecans have a high fat content, they're a good source of potassium, thiamine, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, niacin, folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6, and also a good source of fiber. The fats are composed of 87% unsaturated fatty acids (62% monosaturated and 25% polyunsaturated).
Here are some facts about Pecans:
Pecans provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc.
Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919. Texas Governor James Hogg asked if a pecan tree could be planted at his gravesite when he died.
Albany, Georgia, is the pecan capital of the U.S. It hosts the annual National Pecan Festival, which includes a race, parade, pecan-cooking contest, the crowning of the National Pecan Queen.
There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.
The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
Charlotte, North Carolina, is a place that celebrates Happy Pecan Day with many pecan food varieties.
Try this recipe, if you like rice and mushrooms (like I do):
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter
Cook rice according to package directions then rinse. Season cooked rice with nutmeg. In a well-greased casserole, spoon in a layer of rice, a layer of undiluted mushroom soup, mushrooms, and pecans. Repeat layers, ending with nuts on top. Pour melted butter over all. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350°. Serves 6 to 8.