10 things about pecan you did not know
Pecans are nuts famous world over, for their smooth- melt in the mouth- buttery taste, as well as their delectable aroma. From desserts to snacks, most of the American delicacies are incomplete without Pecans. From Sundaes and cake garnishing, to simply salted or caramelized pecans, toasted variations, or even pecan oil, pecans bring out the nostalgia of one's childhood. They are abundantly available in North America and Mexico. Pecans are available in a variety of sizes and as shelled as well as unshelled versions.
Although the popularity is high, there are several facts about Pecans that remain unbeknownst to a lot of people. Let's glance through some of them:
Pecans come from the Juglandaceae family. The Juglandaceae family consists of two major members- Walnuts and Pecans. Its scientific name is Carya illinoinensis. Pecan trees are deciduous and are generally very large in size. Pecans are produced throughout the year. The tree belongs to the Hickory family and is majorly cultivated in the United States, which produces about 90-95% of Pecans in the world. A pecan tree may survive as long as 300 years. The Pecan isn't exactly a fruit, but a drupe, i.e. a fruit with a single pit surrounded by husk.
2. PECAN SHELLS:
A lot of people have a tendency to treat shells of most nuts as waste and throw them away, however, major nutrients are present in these so called waste parts. Pecan shells are beneficial for a variety of uses such as:
- Decoration & Crafts:
Pecan shells have a peculiar shape, which make them famous for various home decor knick-knacks or even for kids as their craft or home science projects!
- Manure/ Compost:
Pecan shells allowed to age overtime can serve as excellent ingredients for homemade compost. Grinding the shells and adding them to your usual manure mixture will help to accelerate the process. Pecan shells are however, on the acidic side and hence must be used carefully. They provide excellent water retention.
- Biofuel & Substitute for wood in small uses:
Pecan shells can be used for grilling purposes as well as are excellent sources of Biofuels.
- Cosmetic uses:
Grinded pecan shells have a rough grainy structure and hence serve exfoliation purposes. Also, because of their smooth buttery effect due to the presence of monosaturated oils, pecans can also be used inn preparations of lotions as well as moisturizers.
3. OLYMPIC TORCHES:
It is quite a lesser known fact, that in earlier days, back in 1996, the Olympic torch handles were made with the Pecan tree wood. Georgian Pecan wood was selected. The torches were carried in the 15,000-mile U.S.A. relay and in lighting the Olympic flame in Atlanta on July 19, 1996.
4. PECAN OILS:
Pecan oil has numerous benefits, be it in cooking or other uses. Let's look at a few of them below.
- Edible Oils:
Since it has a rich buttery taste, it is very often used as an option for Salad dressings. Most American Dips have Pecan oils as a major ingredient. Pecan oil as a standalone is becoming a decadent flavor and definitely makes for an authentic taste. You can very well be bringing back a food trend. Another amazing feature of Pecan oil is that it can very well replace Olive oil. Also, it does not oxidize easily on heating. Its smoke point is at 470? F which means that it doesn't oxidize easily.
- Skin care:
Pecan oil is beneficial for your body not just internally but externally as well. It hordes a number of nutritious elements such as Zinc, vitamin A & E, folate. From eczema to skin ageing and wrinkles, fighting acne and pimples as well as other skin irritations, also, providing a healthy glowing skin, Pecan oil acts as an all-rounder in all of these departments. Also, it is an obvious fact that it will be an amazing moisturizer.
- Hair care:
Pecan oil has constituents like amino acid, L- arginine and iron. These help to nurture and nourish each and every strand, L-arginine makes artery walls flexible and works to prevent blood clots; that can resolve issues that may be preventing hair growth. In just about 2-4 months you can see the benefits of incorporating Pecan oil in your hair-care routine.
- Healthy home aesthetics:
As mentioned previously in this article, pecan oil has a soothing pleasant smell. Hence, by mixing it with water it can also be used as a room freshener. Also, instead of buying expensive scented oils for your massages and hot tub sessions, you can used pecan oils for the same. You can definitely have a spa experience at home!
- Consume it naturally:
You can incorporate this healthy oil in your lifestyle without any excessive efforts too! Just have a teaspoon every day! No need to boil or cook! You will definitely notice the healthy changes in your lifestyle soon.
5. GRILLING AND SMOKING MEATS:
Selecting the right type of wood for grilling is a choosy affair or most people. Well, fret not, another great benefit of the Pecan tree is its wood's amazing aroma. It provides a fruitier taste and is the best choice for pork.
6. SIDE EFFECTS:
Generally, pecans can affect people who are allergic to nuts as they are a form of nuts themselves. The symptoms are usually what exist for other nut allergies such as hives, itching, swelling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, dizziness and loss of consciousness. Sometimes, people are also allergic to pollen of Pecan trees just like dates. Also, sometimes the roots of pecan trees planted can wilt and produce non-toxic, colorless chemical called hydrojuglone. When exposed to air it oxidizes & transforms into juglone, which is highly toxic. However, this happens very rarely as compared to other trees like Black Walnut. Even in the case of allergies, there are anti-histamines easily available to treat the same.
7. HEALTH BENEFITS:
Pecan is the best snack for people suffering from heart diseases. It decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) and therefore keeps your heart healthy and protected. It has antioxidants in humongous proportions. They are full of fiber and hence maintain colon health. They also reduce the risk of hemorrhages. Pecans are also high in Manganese content which build up the immunity of your body. Pecans also help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and arthritis as they are high in Manganese content. Pecans also encourage weight loss and are of great help for people following a diet, as they boost up the body's metabolism rate.
8. HAIR BENEFITS:
Pecans are rich in Magnesium, Manganese, B-complex, Vitamin E as well as Iron which are extremely essential for healthy hair growth. Also, L-arginine and Amino acids are helpful to tackle baldness and for efficient blood flow to the scalp and roots.
Pecans are primarily abundant in two acids- Oleic and Ellagic acids. These have anti-proliferative properties. These acids don't allow the binding of DNA structures of certain carcinogenic substances such as nitrosamines and polycyclic hydrocarbons. Also, don't forget the fact that Pecans are anti-oxidant rich. Oleic acid also help to reduce breast cancer as well as colon cancer. There are also beta- carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin which help to remove oxygen-free radicals.
Nowadays, the new trend are Pecan flavored beverages. Distilleries are producing craft beers which have a smooth buttery Pecan taste and are gaining widely popularity.