Pecans: benefits, varieties, nutritional values and where to find them

Pecans: benefits, varieties, nutritional values and where to find them

Pecan nuts

Pecans are a delicious-tasting fruit, very rich and almost buttery, slightly sweeter than traditional walnuts, so consumed in the right quantities they are a perfect healthy snack, as they are also great eaten on their own.

Known by the scientific name of Carya illinoinensis, the plant of these fruits can reach considerable size and age. These trees generally need a lot of space to grow, so they are never planted near other plants or buildings.

Let's discover all the secrets and characteristics of the Pecan Nut.

Pecans

Botanical aspects

What distinguishes the pecan plant morphologically is its height. The bark is light grey-brown and the wood is reddish-brown. The roots are strong and the leaves are around 30 to 40 cm long. Flowering takes place in May and the fruit ripens between October and November.

Pecans fruits

The fruit is a walnut enclosed in a thick green shell (husk) which splits into four parts when ripe and opens in late autumn. The nuts usually occur in clusters of 2-8 flowers, with a size of 2-5 cm in length and 2 cm in diameter. The inside of the walnut (the fruit) is usually in a liquid state until September, when it solidifies. The ripening begins as the size of the shell and the fruit itself develops: the weight increases, while the water content decreases from 75% to 30%. The amount of fat becomes up to seven times higher than in the early stages of development.

Production and processing of pecans

Pecan nuts are considered ripe and ready for harvesting when the shells begin to open and a small portion begins to fall to the ground. Most farmers shake the trees with mechanical shakers. Depending on the variety, one shake may be sufficient or a second shake may be necessary. Hand harvesting involves shaking on large tarpaulins into which the nuts will fall. The post-harvest processing stages are as follows:

  1. Cleaning of the nuts: once the harvest is over, the nuts are transferred to trailers or bins and then cleaned using a special cleaner. The first step is to remove foreign bodies, then the shells of the nuts are broken. A stream of air then blows away the broken leaves and shells and finally the workers inspect them to remove any unsuitable ones.
  2. Sizing: after cleaning, the nuts must be sized to ensure uniform batches.
  3. Drying: dryers are used to lower the moisture content of the nuts and speed up the drying process.
  4. Grading: pecans must be graded before marketing because only by knowing their quality and the percentage of edible fruit can they be priced.
  5. Storage: growers who decide not to market their pecans during the harvesting season should store their produce in cold storage to increase the shelf life of the pecans.

Countries of production pecans

Pecans are a fruit that originated in the eastern regions of North America bordering Mexico. Today they are produced in Israel, Brazil, Australia and also in parts of southern Italy.

Pecans nutritional values

Pecans are a source of fibre as well as vitamins and minerals, the most abundant of which are: Vitamin E, Manganese, Copper and Phosphorus. Pecans are rich in unsaturated fats, the so-called good fats, and contain linoleic acid (26g/100g). Linoleic acid (LA) contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels and the beneficial effect is achieved with a daily intake of 10g LA.

Where can you buy pecans online?

You can find and buy Pecan Halves, Organic Pecan Halves and Roasted Organic Pecan Cream online on naturally.com, the online shop for true lovers of nuts with no salt or sugar.

Sources:

Nuts Book

Nutritional analyses (Eurocompany)

Our nuts

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