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Pecans

Pecans, named pakans by Algonquin Indians because of their hard shell, are a native American nut.  They are a member of the hickory family and grow in temperate climates.  The third ranking crop in the United States, pecans are cultivated in the States of Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.  They are at their peak when harvested in the fall, but are available year round.

A smooth, reddish-brown, one-inch (2.54 cm) long oval shell encloses two golden-brown crinkled lobes with ivory-colored meat.  Pecans have a buttery, soft-textured, slightly bittersweet taste that is enhanced when toasted.   Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven until lightly browned.  Cool before using.

Pecans are used in pastries and desserts such as the famous Southern pecan pie, quick breads, cakes, cookies, candies, pralines and ice creams. 

Pecans are one of the more expensive nuts and are sold shelled, either coarsely chopped or in halves, or unshelled.  When buying unshelled pecans, look for clean, unblemished, uncracked shells that do not rattle when shaken.

Their high fat content (over 70%) causes them to go rancid quickly so store in the refrigerator (3 months) or freezer (6 months) in airtight containers or plastic bags.

1 cup halves = 100 grams

1 cup coarsely chopped = 110 grams

PECANS -  pronounced pih-KAHN, pih-KAN or PEE-kan.