Hmmm...I just found out it's Georgia Pecan Month. Since I live in Atlanta and love pecans, I should have no problem finding ways to celebrate, right? Heh. Seriously, though, if you're looking for a heart-healthy snack, pecans certainly fit the bill.
Research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that pecans rank highest among all nuts and are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity, meaning pecans may decrease the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In other findings, a review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that nuts like pecans may aid in weight loss and maintenance. Many more pecan-related benefits can be found here, so be sure to read up if you're unconvinced.
I find that pecans lend themselves to some of the most delicious recipes. Pecan pie? Yes please! Sweet potato casserole covered in pecans? Don't mind if I do! So here are a few sucralose-sweetened, low calorie recipes featuring pecans.
Savannah's Praline Cheesecake
Cinnamon-Pecan Monkey Bread
Sweet Southern Pecan Pie
Spicy Texas Pecans
And here are some fun facts for you, courtesy of the National Pecan Shellers Association:
* Pecan trees usually range in height from 70 to 100 feet, but some trees grow as tall as 150 feet or higher. Native pecan trees – those over 150 years old – have trunks more than three feet in diameter.
* There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans. Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
* It would take a line of over 10 billion pecans to reach the moon! |
* Albany, Georgia, which boasts more than 600,000 pecan trees, is the pecan capital of the U.S. Albany hosts the annual National Pecan Festival, which includes a race, parade, pecan-cooking contest, the crowning of the National Pecan Queen and many other activities.
* Some of the larger pecan shellers process 150,000 pounds of pecans each day. That’s enough to make 300,000 pecan pies!
* The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
Finally, I know Glee has NOTHING to do with pecans...but dang, that show got me all misty-eyed several times last night. And I loved the wonderful diva-off between Rachel and Kurt in reference to who would sing "Defying Gravity," the show-stopping tune from "Wicked." I found it truly heartwarming when Kurt later revealed that he deliberately flubbed the high note for his father's sake. If you haven't started watching this gem of a show yet, please tune in. You're missing out.