Dish up some healthy pecan recipes for National Pecan MonthApr 04, 2023 02:51PM ● By Nancy J. Schaaf RN
Pee-can or peh-kahn. No matter its pronunciation, pie is usually what comes to mind when we think of this delicious nut. But there is more to this nutrient-packed powerhouse.
The pecan nuts, with their crunchy texture and buttery flavor, make an exciting component in several dishes, snacks or condiments.
We can stuff them in peppers with goat cheese or toss them in a salad for some crunch. Pecans pair beautifully with caramel, too, so add a handful on top of a caramel cheesecake or spruce up ice cream with a splash of bourbon pecans or candied pecans. We can even add a crumbly pecan topping to a coffee cake or add it to a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Pecans are the only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America. The U.S. grows and supplies approximately 80% of the world’s pecans, producing 250 to 300 million pounds annually. Albany, Georgia is the pecan capital with more than 600,000 pecan trees.
April is National Pecan Month, so think outside the pie and grab a handful of pecans for a heart-healthy snack.
Just a handful can help lower cholesterol and contains more than 19 vitamins and minerals.
Pecans, with the high level of antioxidants including vitamin E, is thought to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by nearly 25%. By helping reduce oxidative stress caused by inflammation, antioxidants protect cells and tissues of vital organs like our brain. Pecans are a high-quality source of protein and are naturally sodium free.
If you’re feeling excited about this super healthy nut, you’re in luck! The National Pecan Shellers Association’s 75th Anniversary Cookbook features 75 delicious, heart-healthy, chef-inspired recipes. Celebrate National Pecan Month by downloading the recipe book for free at ILovePecans.org/recipes.
Crispy Pecan Fish FilletsMy favorite recipe from The National Pecan Shellers Association’s 75th Anniversary Cookbook.
• 11/2 lbs. fish fillets (catfish, snapper, flounder or fish of choice)
• 1 cup milk
• 1 Tbsp. tabasco sauce
• ½ tsp. salt
• 2 cups yellow cornmeal
• 1 stick of unsalted butter
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup pecans, chopped
• 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• ½ cup fresh lemon juice
Wash fish fillets under cold running water and place in bowl with milk, tabasco and salt.
Allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Just before cooking, drain fillets and dredge in the cornmeal.
Heat 2 tablespoons each of butter and vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry cornmeal-covered fillets until crispy and brown (about 2 minutes on each side).
Remove from pan with slotted spatula and drain on paper towels.
Repeat until all fish is fried. Keep warm. Drain the skillet and add remaining butter.
Place over medium heat and when melted, add pecans.
Stir constantly while pecans brown.
Add parsley and lemon juice and stir.
Pour sauce over fillets and serve immediately.
7 Pecan Trivia Facts
• It takes about 78 pecans for one pecan pie.
• Okmulgee, Oklahoma holds the world’s record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie and pecan brownie. The town held an annual Pecan Festival each June until 2009.
• Pecan wood is used in baseball bats, hammer handles, furniture, wall paneling, flooring and the 1996 Olympic torches.
• Thomas Jefferson planted a pecan tree in his orchard and would gift the other founding fathers pecans.
• Pecan trees live for 300 years, grow to over 150 feet tall with trunks that measure over 3 feet in diameter.
• Astronauts took pecans to the moon twice in the Apollo space mission.
• Roasted pecan shells were often used as a substitute for coffee during World War II