Today is National Pecan Day, and we’re always eager to celebrate any holiday that revolves around food! National Pecan Day was initiated by the National Pecan Shellers Association and was first celebrated in 1996.
“Pecan” is actually a Native American word of Algonquin origin, and it was originally used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack”. A pecan is not truly a nut though. Technically it’s a drupe – a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. The husks are produced from the flower, and what we know as the nut develops from the endocarp and contains the seed. Pecan trees are the only nut trees native to North American, and it’s said that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted them on their properties.
Pecans are an excellent source of protein, and they’re packed with vitamins and minerals, such Vitamin E, beta-carotine, thiamin, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and manganese. Pecans are also loaded with antioxidants that are known to ward of such illnesses as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Adding pecans into your diet can help reduce your cholesterol, prevent coronary artery disease, and increase your metabolism.
- Pecan Lover’s Potato Salad
- Maple-Pecan Butter Waffles with Pecan Maple Syrup
- Mashed Sweet Potato Pecan Bake
- Pumpkin-Pecan Soup with Pecan Butter Croutons
- Nutty Buddy Burgers
And these Cranberry–Pecan Butter Muffins…
- 1/3 cup pecan butter
- 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons of water in a blender and blend until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute.
- 1/2 cup natural sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a muffin pan.
- Blend the pecan butter and oil in a large bowl. Add the milk, flaxseed mixture, and sugar and blend until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Stir into the pecan butter mixture until just blended.
- Fold in the cranberries, then transfer the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups about two- thirds full. Sprinkle the tops with about 2 teaspoons of chopped pecans.
- Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 12 muffins
From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Lori Maffei.