February is America’s heart healthy month, so what’s a better snack than pecans? Pecans are considered heart healthy according to the American Heart Association®. A serving of pecans has eight grams of protein, which is about 16 percent of the Daily
Climate restraints only allow for pecan production in the south of the United States. Georgia, New Mexico and Texas are the top producing states for pecan production in America. The United States produced 302 million pounds of pecans in 2020, which is up 18 percent from 2019. In 2020, $399 million was the value of the pecan crop, which was down 15 percent from 2019.
It only makes sense that Texas would be one of the top producing pecan states, since the pecan tree is Texas’ state tree. Texas’ climate is typically warm, which is ideal for pecan trees. South Texas, and the warmer areas of Texas, typically have more pecan trees than the panhandle and parts of North Texas that get colder.
There are a few different methods for harvesting pecans, but the most common and easiest way is by using trunk shakers. Trunk shakers are machines that shake the pecans out of the tree and onto the ground. It is important to pick pecans up off of the ground as quickly as possible, so that ants and other insects do not destroy the pecans. After the pecans are picked up, they are then cleaned and bagged.
Pecans are actually a very healthy food source that can be prepared in many different ways. Pecans contain protein, and they are rich in unsaturated fats. They are a great snack or a tasty addition to salads, side dishes, and desserts. For individuals who are watching their caloric intake, however, snack sensibly, since an ounce of pecans contains about 170 calories. Pecans play a big role in Texas and in many Texans homes.
For recipes including pecans, check out https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu/!
Contact: Dr. Larry Stein