Falling for Fresh, Local Pecans

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Pecans are a mainstay in so many recipes in the South; it’s almost like a requirement!! Pecans are packed with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and 19 vitamins and minerals.

Did you know that?

  • One ounce of pecans (about 20 halves) contains more than 19 vitamins and minerals.
  • Pecans rank highest among all nuts; they are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity.
  • Recent research shows that pecans can help with weight control efforts.
  • Eating just a handful of pecans each day may protect your nervous system against neurological diseases such as ALS.
  • Pecans provide 10 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber with 2.7 grams in a 1-ounce serving, and
  • Yes, pecans contain fats – but it’s good, heart-healthy fats like oleic acid that help prevent heart disease.

Make pecans a part of your diet with these tasty recipes.

Pecan and Date Pie

Ingredients

Crust
(I am firm believer that some of the “store bought” ones will do fine)

  • 5 ounces oat flour (about 1¼ cups), divided
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening (such as Spectrum), chilled
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. ice-cold water

Filling

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup whole pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup dark-colored corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs

Directions

  1. Prepare the crust: Combine two-thirds of the flour with the sugar, milk powder, salt, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse twice to mix. Add shortening and cold butter; pulse until dough begins to clump, about 20 pulses. Add remaining flour; pulse 5 times. Place in a bowl. Add up to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a rubber spatula until combined. Turn out on a floured surface; shape into a flattened disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.
  2. Unwrap dough; transfer to a floured surface. Let stand 10 minutes. Roll to a 10- to 11-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Fold edges under, and crimp. Chill until ready to fill.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  4. Prepare the filling: Spread pecans on a baking sheet; toast at 350°F until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Pulse dates in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
  5. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium; cook 90 seconds or until browned and fragrant, swirling pan frequently.
  6. Combine corn syrup, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in eggs, and gradually whisk in browned butter until smooth.
  7. Spread dates in crust; sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Pour in egg mixture. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until filling is set around the edges. Loosely cover with foil; bake 10 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.

Serves 12. Each serving contains Calories 298, Fat 17 g, Carbohydrates 35 g, Protein 5 g, Fiber 3 g, Sodium 207 mg.

Pecan Crusted Catfish

(Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup corn flake crumbs
  • ¼ cup finely ground pecans (1 oz.)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 lb. catfish, haddock, orange roughy, sole, flounder or other medium-firm fish fillets (about ¾ inch thick), cut into 4 serving pieces

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Spray 15x10x1-inch pan with cooking spray. In large, resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix cornflake crumbs, pecans, paprika, garlic powder, and ground red pepper.
  2. In shallow dish or pie plate, beat egg white slightly with fork. Dip fish into egg white, then place in bag. Seal bag and shake until evenly coated. Place in pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 240, Fat 12 g, Cholesterol 85 mg, Carbohydrates 6 g, Protein 25 g, Sodium 115 mg.

Healthy Maple Pecan Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats (gluten free if you like)
  • ¼ cup finely diced pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F, and line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cinnamon, and maple extract until the egg whites are broken up and slightly bubbly. Stir in the maple syrup. Pour in the brown rice cereal and oats, and gently stir with a spatula until both cereals are evenly coated.
  3. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes. Gently stir and move the clusters around the pan to break up the granola and prevent the bits closest to the edge from burning. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then gently stir again. Bake for an additional 5-9 minutes (for a total of 35-39 minutes), or until the granola is golden and crunchy. Cool the granola completely to room temperature on the pan before sprinkling the diced pecans on top and transferring to an airtight container.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 139, Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 24 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 54 mg.

Protein-Packed Pecan Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked for 2 hours or more
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 3 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch unrefined salt

Directions

  • Put all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.

Serves 2. Each serving contains Calories 575, Fat 41 g, Carbohydrates 53 g, Fiber 12 g, Protein 47g, Sodium 5 mg.

Peach Coffee Cake with Pecan Topping

(Adapted from an Eating Well recipe)

Ingredients

  • Baking spray with flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2½ cups white whole-wheat flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups peeled fresh peach slices (from 2 peaches), plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Use baking spray with flour to generously coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Combine pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, ½ cup flour and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add melted butter; stir gently until crumbly. Set streusel aside.
  3. Place the remaining 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt.
  4. Whisk eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir to combine.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Arrange peach slices on top of the batter, leaving a 2-inch space in the center. Top with the reserved streusel.
  6. Bake until lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes, covering loosely with foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove the pan sides and serve with additional peach slices.

Serves 12. Each serving contains Calories 291, Fat 14 g, Carbohydrates 36 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 7g, Sodium 264 mg.