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Learn How to Make Pecan Butter at Home!

Pecan butter is made from pecan nuts cultivated from a species of deciduous tree belonging to the hickory family, Juglandaceae.  The tree is native to central and southern parts of the U.S.  Today, however, it is being cultivated in many regions of the world as an important commercial tree nuts crop.  Each spring season, the tree bears catkins, consisting of the cluster of monoecious flowers arranged closely along a central stem that ultimately develops into fruits by autumn.  Pecan nuts, much like the fruit of all other members of the hickory genus, are not true nuts but, botanically, are a drupe.

Read on to learn about the amazing benefits of pecans, and how you can make a simple, delicious pecan butter from the comfort of your own home.

Health Benefits In A Nutshell

Pecan nuts are enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.  They are rich sources of energy and provide 690 calories per 100 g.  They are also fine sources of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants.  Consuming pecan nuts regularly helps to decrease total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood.

Pecan nuts are rich sources of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their antioxidant activity, including ellagic acid, beta-carotene, and zea-xanthin.  Research studies have suggested that these compounds help to remove toxic oxygen-free radicals, and protect the body from disease, cancers, as well as infections.

The nuts are very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.  Together, these vitamins work for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.  The nuts are also rich sources of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, selenium, iron, and magnesium.

Finally, pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane, of mucus membranes, and skin, by  protecting from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Aside from all this, pecans are a little higher in fat than peanut butter, so consider limiting intake to 2 tbs a day, as tempting as it may be to go through an entire jar in one sitting.

How To Make Your Own

Peanut butter on toast is so yesterday!  Surprise your friends and family with this recipe, and spread it on some banana bread!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter

 Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups toasted pecans
  2. 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  3. 1 tsp coconut oil, or other veg-safe oil
  4. 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Procedure:

  1. Toast 2 cups of raw pecans for 10 minutes at 325° F.  Watch closely so you don’t burn them
  2. Place toasted pecans into food processor.  Process for about 5-10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Toasted pecans will form into a butter much faster than almonds will.
  3. Just before your pecan butter is ready, add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips & 1 tsp of coconut oil to a small pot.
  4. Melt on low.  You want to remove the pot from heat while there are still some chunks of chocolate chip remaining.  They will melt as you stir the mixture so don’t worry.  Also it may be a good idea to take it off the heat early to avoid burning the mixture.
  5. Add melted chocolate to the pecan butter in the food processor and process for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  6. Add your kosher salt to taste and process more.
  7. Scoop into a container and store in the fridge.  Note that this will firm up your pecan butter, so allow it to sit at room temperature a bit in order to let it soften before use.

Image credit: Angela Liddon/ohsheglows.com

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