Pecans are the pride of the South. They grow on huge trees throughout the Mississippi River Valley, especially in Georgia, New Mexico and Texas. Pecan trees grow to 150 feet with trunks of 7 feet in diameter. Mature trees can produce up to 200 pounds of nuts per year.
Like all nuts, pecans contain enzyme inhibitors that can irritate the mouth and cause digestive problems. Native Americans understood instinctively that pecans had to be treated in some way before they were con- sumed. They ground the nuts and soaked them in water to make a nutritious milky drink, much as European farmers made a kind of milk from walnuts.
Pecans contain about 70 percent fat, most of it monounsaturated oleic acid. This stable oil protects pecans from rancidity and gives them good keeping qualities. Pecans contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. They are an exceptionally rich source of manga- nese. Like all nuts from large trees whose roots extend far down into the earth, pecans are good sources of trace minerals. They contain B com- plex vitamins, carotenoids and vita- min C in small amounts.
Pecans will last about four months at room temperature. To keep them longer, store in refrigerator.
This recipe appears on page 513 of the book Nourishing Traditions. Makes 4 cups.
- 4 cups raw macadamia nuts
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- filtered water
The buttery flavor of pecans is enhanced by soaking and slow oven drying.
- Mix pecans with salt and filtered water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight.
- Drain in a colander.
- Spread pecans on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven or dehydrator (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.
- Store in an airtight container. Great for school lunches!
VARIATION: HOLIDAY PECANS
This recipe appears on page 514 of the book Nourishing Traditions. Makes 4 cups.
- 4 cups crispy pecan halves
- 3 egg whites
- pinch sea salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Beat egg whites with salt in a clean bowl until stiff.
- Slowly beat in maple syrup and vanilla.
- Fold in pecans until well coated.
- Spread on two buttered, stainless steel baking pans and place in a warm oven [or dehydrator] (no more than 150 degrees) for several hours until the egg white coating hardens.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.