Raise your hand if you know an indigenous American nut? Nope, not the squirrel, the nut. Yes you were correct when the sign flashed in your head saying ‘pecans’. At least, that’s what I heard once, that pecans are the only tree nut that was not brought here by settlers or others hoping to cultivate freely in the rich soil of this country. Regardless, pecans are delicious, nutrient-dense, versatile, and probably some other things that we will explore momentarily.
So why an article about pecans? Well, to be honest, because my favorite Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet recipes apply them as the base ingredient. Right now seems like a good time to express my deep-rooted and undying love for those crazy nuts; scent, shape, texture, flavor, plenty to enjoy here. There’s an almost buttery flavor profile. Perhaps this is why pecan pie has become a nationwide staple on Thanksgiving tables. Pecans actually boast the highest fat content of any nut. We’re talking about good fats here, the kind that elite athletes want, not fast-food crud fat that is slowly killing so many people before their time. In fact, pecans are about 70-percent fat! This is primarily monounsaturated healthy fat, which helps explain why they are also such a terrific source of oleic acid. It’s not exactly a superfood (empty term by the way) yet scientists are praising the benefits for its anti-inflammation and immune system boosting capabilities.
Ever heard of vitamin E? Yep, tucked right there between d and f, which I’m not sure what vitamin f is and that’s fine with me. Pecans are one of nature’s very best sources of vitamin E, partly due to their inclusion of multiple absorbable variations of it. This should be of interest if you have any desire to reduce free radicals, ward off macular degeneration and cataracts, and reduce your probability of cancer and diabetes. I’m not a doctor but if I was you would definitely receive a prescription for more pecans in your daily diet!
So where do these incredible tree nuts grow? Thanks for asking! Around fifteen states in the south, basically California to Florida, commercially raise pecans for harvest. These are all varieties derived from the original wild pecans that grew here prior to colonization. While it takes up to ten years for a tree to produce a full harvest, once mature, pecan trees can continue to produce for up to one hundred more years! That’s a surprisingly efficient use of resources and land space. While the United States isn’t the only place on earth to produce pecans, we do account for approximately 80-percent of the annual global total.
Plenty of nuts are terrific for various cooking and baking requirements. Most are full of nutrients and minerals, quality sources of protein and fat, while still offering wide flavor profiles along with textures ranging from smooth to crunchadelic. Ruth uses several go-to nuts and seeds for different occasions, often applying their different characteristics as needed to continue improving recipes. Some favorites include walnuts, sunflower seeds, and macadamia—and for some specialty baking we love pistachios!
So what does this all mean to you? Just keep eating…Ruth’s products of course! We will continue producing the finest vegetarian entrees for you and the people you care about. Please visit our website for recipe ideas or contact us to share your own twist. After all, food isn’t just about solid nutrition, it’s about enjoying the experience and hopefully sharing it with others.