You don’t have to live in the American South to love pecans, which are commonly featured around Thanksgiving time with a traditional pecan pie. There are many culinary uses for pecans, ranging from sweet to savory, but there are other pecan uses as well. We have compiled some unique ways to incorporate this tasty nut into your lifestyle.
What to Do with Pecans
If you are lucky enough to live near a nut farm or simply have your own tree, harvest time may leave you questioning, what to do with pecans? Due to the tree’s alternate bearing habit, one year will bring few nuts, while the next will produce a bumper crop. You can freeze the extras or come up with some unique pecan uses. Some tips on how to use pecans can keep your family floating in a haze of happy options for this heart healthy food.
Once shelled, pecans freeze beautifully and can be used throughout the year. Don’t discard those shells! Even the shells are useful in several ways. You can simply spread them over your garden beds as an organic mulch to help retain moisture in the soil. As an added bonus, the sharp edges will repel slugs and snails.
When ground up, the shells can be added to homemade lotions and soaps. The slightly coarse powder makes and excellent exfoliate. If you love smoking your own meat, use the shells in the process to add a sweet flavor. Pecan shells can be part of a family craft project such as creating a mosaic with the shells, beans, and other pantry staples.
New Uses for Pecans
The nut meats themselves are used for a myriad of products. If you are still wondering how to use pecans, roast and grind them for a unique flour. If you have an oil press, raw or roasted nuts may be pressed for a flavorful oil with plenty of vitamins and minerals as well as important antioxidants. Over 75 percent of the nut contains this powerful oil. Pecans will ferment just like grains do and are an interesting additive to home brewed beer. They impart a smoky, sweetness to deep ales as well as robust pilsners.
There are always classics like pie and pralines, but what else are pecans good to incorporate into? Look outside the box and the country for inspiration from other cuisines. Make a pesto with the nuts, add their sweetness to spicy Mexican or Thai dishes, or even blend them with other seasonings such as Cajun spice and use them as a crust for fish or chicken. Pecan’s flavor translates well in both sweet and savory dishes. Mix some into waffles, coat a baked brie, or sprinkle them over side dishes. If you have tons of the nuts, puree them into a delicious nut butter for use in baking or just on your favorite toast.