Whether you say pecan (pee-can) or pecan (peh-cawn), we can all agree on the sound of the delicious flavor: mmmmmm. We also love that pecans are certified heart-healthy by the American Heart Association and that they contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals. So how do you incorporate more pecans into your kitchen? Turns out, it’s not such a tough nut to crack.
The easiest way to get more pecans into your daily diet involves nothing more than opening a bag and digging in. Pecans are a great snack for being on the go because they’re not crumbly or sticky, and they are filled with protein that will keep you feeling full.
Spicing things up doesn’t take much more effort with this Spicy-Sweet Pecan recipe, or go fancy with this recipe for Rosemary Pecans from Real Simple. Want something a little lighter? Try mixing popcorn and pecans! Pop your favorite (low-calorie) bag of popcorn, and then drizzle pure maple syrup on top, add two handfuls of chopped pecans, toss it all together, and enjoy!
In meals, pecans can either be the centerpiece or the pièce de résistance. If you want pecans as the centerpiece to your meal, try this recipe for Pecan Soup which can pair well with a rustic bread and aged cheese, or pump up your pasta with pecans in this recipe for Pecan Pasta Shells with Sausage. To play down the presence of pecans, try a more subtle recipe like these delicious side dishes – Brussel Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries or Roasted Broccoli with Pecans.
Ok, here is where pecans really shine. Think pecans are a popular ingredient in desserts? Just check out Huffington Post’s “Mother Lode of Sweet Pecan Recipes” and try not to drool on your keyboard. Of course there’s pecan pie, but did you know you can also make pecan logs, pecan tarts, pecan pie ice cream, pecan shortbread, and even salted chocolate matzo toffee with pecans? Yep, it’s true. You can even make a toasted pecan rum smoothie, if you’d like to drink your pecans rather than eat them.
Decorations and Crafts
If you’re using whole pecans and have the shells leftover, you can keep the pecan celebration going all year long. To create a rustic look, save the shells and place them at the bottom of clear glass candle holders or to fill a mason jar that you’re using as a flower vase.
Kids can get in on the pecan party as well. Let them experiment with using the shells as a painting medium on a rainy afternoon. Using washable paint, let your kids use the shells as stamps to dip into the paint and then stamp onto their paper. Alternately, let them use the shells as the object to paint. And while everyone is crafting, don’t forget to set out a bowl of pecans as a snack.