Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Local Pecans - Oh Yeah!!

Ever since I read the lovely book, French Women Don't Get Fat by Mereille Guiliano I have been nuts about nuts. The way she described the difference between shelled nuts and their stale, overly salted, roasted impostors set me on the hunt for fresh, and hopefully local, nuts.

Many people think of nuts as being too high in calories to be a health food but the truth is that higher calories also come with higher vital nutrients and as long as you keep them in the shell, you have to work for your food and surely that will work off some of the extra calories.

Pecans are a great source of protein, unsaturated fats and are rich in omega 6 fatty acids. A diet rich in nuts can lower the risk of gallstones in women and the antioxidants and plant sterols in pecans can lower cholesterol by reducing LDL levels. Clinical research has shown that eating a handful of pecans daily can reduce cholesterol levels as much as cholesterol reducing medication and without the nasty side effects. Pecans are a good source of folate vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and zinc, all essential for good health.

Most of what we buy in stores is old and already rancid and this is especially true of anything roasted and salted, which is usually employed to mask rancidity. But a fresh, Tennessee pecan, straight from the shell is another thing altogether.

We purchase our pecans from a local grower in Tuft, Tennessee who tends 13 mature pecan trees. This definitely falls within our "small batch, artisan" criterion and we couldn't be happier to have found Ray and Wynna. We will carry fresh pecans until supplies run out and then wait patiently for next year's harvest.

Fresh nuts should be stored in an airtight container away from the light and according to Mereille "please, never stored in the refrigerator".

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