It’s National Pecan Day!

National Pecan Day April 14th

Did you know that the pecan tree is the only nut tree native to North America? I sure didnt.

April 14th is National Pecan Day and April is National Pecan Month. Here are some nutrition facts about the nut we’re nuts about:

• Pecans contain more antioxidants than any other nut variety according to ORAC values
• Pecans can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels
• Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals
• Pecans are a natural, high-quality source of protein and naturally sodium free

Depending on how you prepare this nut, it can be very healthy. The most popular way to prepare this nut, of course, is good old pecan pie. Pecan pie is kind of a rock star when it comes to texture. You have the buttery crisp crust, filled with the gooey mixture of corn syrup and sugar, topped with candied pecans that are sweet, nutty and crispy. It truly does have so much going for it!

Below are some fun facts about pecans, because you really should learn something today :).

• Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.  In fact, Texas Governor James Hogg liked pecan trees so much that he asked if a pecan tree could be planted at his gravesite when he died.
• 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.
• 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.
• The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
• Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.

Below is a delicious recipe to use pecans in an unusual way. It’s Pecan crusted tilapia with a honey glaze.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia with Honey Glaze
4 whole Tilapia fillets, cut in half lengthwise – you should have 8 pieces about 6″ x 2.5″ each
3 T organic honey
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or Gluten free breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crushed pecans (I used a mini food processor) ground to fine dust
salt & pepper
3 eggs, beaten in bowl

Honey Glaze:
3 T organic honey mixed with 2 T hot water
3 T olive oil, for frying

1) Wash Tilapia and pat dry. Using a brush, brush both sides of the fillet with honey. Generously salt & pepper both sides of the fillet.
2) Combine the Panko and crushed Pecans. Lay out your ingredients in this order: Tilapia – Egg mixture – Panko/Pecan Dip the fish in the egg, coat with panko/pecan on both sides, set aside. Repeat with all fillets.
3) Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the oil is hot, turn the heat down to low. Add the fillets to the pan, make sure the fillets don’t touch each other. You may have to do this in separate batches. Fry on low for 2 minutes until the underside is golden brown. Turn. Fry another 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Pour the honey glaze over the fish. Note: if you don’t fry on low heat, the panko/pecan coating will burn before the fish is cooked through.

Serve over rice, pasta or quinoa.


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