Stick a pecan pie in the oven and settle in, because we’re about crack this nut open and share everything from cooking tips to how it became one of America’s favorite ingredients.
It Starts With a Pecan Tree
The pecan is the only tree nut native to North America, so it’s one of our country’s original indigenous plants! Its name is derived from the Native American word “pacane” that references “nuts requiring a stone to crack,” and the pecan’s lineage can be traced to the 16th century when pecan tree seeds were planted in the midwest, along the Mississippi river. It’s believed these valuable nuts were once used as currency among local tribes as well.
They’re known for a buttery texture and unmistakable, slightly sweet flavor, but there’s more to a pecan than good taste. Here’s everything you need to know.
How to Toast Pecans
Pecans are enjoyable on their own, but the flavor is even more pronounced after toasting for a few minutes. To make your own batch, preheat the oven to 350°F and spread 1 cup of pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly deeper in color.
How to Make Candied Pecans
Candied pecans are next level and the recipe is surprisingly simple. Toss the nuts with sugar, spices, and a frothy egg white (which gives the baked pecan its light crunch.) Give it a try by making Candied Pecans With Cinnamon and Sugar from Two Peas and Their Pod.
6 Ways to Use Pecans
Even though pecans make a great stand-alone snack, but there’s a lot you can do with these mighty nuts. Here are a few ideas!
- Toss into salads, fruit salad, or even chicken salad for extra crunch
- Stir chopped pecans into a warm bowl of oatmeal
- Bake with oats and seeds into a batch of granola
- Use finely ground nuts as a coating for chicken or fish
- Add to banana bread, pancake, or muffin batter
- Sprinkle over baked sweet potatoes
When you’re ready to get cooking, we’ve got plenty of ideas to embrace pecans in both sweet and savory ways.
This recipe comes from blogger Joy the Baker, and mimics the flavor of warm banana bread with spices like ground cinnamon and nutmeg, plus handfuls of dehydrated bananas and a cup of coarsely chopped pecans.
This classic Southern dessert goes Paleo thanks to a gluten-free chocolate crust and filling sweetened with maple syrup and dates instead of granulated sugar.
Fruit crumbles are easy to whip up and deliver on big flavors, especially with a crunchy topping featuring roasted pecans, chewy cranberries, and liquid coconut oil. Serve it à la mode for a sweet ending!
If pumpkin pie is more your style, there’s still a role for pecans to play (they’ll look beautiful arranged on top). Top it with Paleo-friendly coconut whipped cream, and keep the crust dairy-free using coconut oil instead of ghee.
Cookie lovers, tie your aprons! This South American treat is made with raw pecan and coconut flour, and finished with a creamy caramel sauce.
Meet the ultimate chocolate bark, guaranteed to fly off the tray. Ours is topped with all kinds of goodies from goji berries and cranberries to almonds and pecans.
Here’s a side everyone can enjoy! This batch of candied yams transforms spuds into a vegan-friendly option by swapping in almond butter for cream and whipping the filling with cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and chopped pecans for crunch.
This vegan cheese will be the star of your next appetizer platter. Roll it in your favorite toppings, like ground pecans for a savory spread perfect with nuts and fruit.