The pecan is one of the world's tastiest and most nutritious nuts, and Louisiana ranks third or fourth in the nation's pecan production.  In a good year about 18 million pounds are harvested in Louisiana, with an economic value of nearly 10 million dollars.

Nutritionally the pecan is a concentrated energy source, rich in protein, B-vitamins and minerals. Each ounce (about ¼ cup) contains approximately 190 calories, 19 grams of fat (mostly unsaturated, with no cholesterol) and 2 grams of protein.  A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that pecans lowered levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). 

Helpful facts:

About 2½ pounds of pecans in the shell yield 1 pound of shelled nuts.

Tight containers are needed for pecan storage to avoid absorption of odors and flavors from other foods. Pecans will mold if not thoroughly dry before storing, even in the freezer.  Pecans, shelled or in the shell, will maintain high quality for about a year in the refrigerator or for several years in the freezer.  Pecans can be used straight from the freezer.  They can also be thawed and refrozen with no loss of quality.

Shelled pecans become stale or rancid in 2 to 3 months or less at room temperature.  Once pecans become rancid, the disagreeable flavor cannot be removed. Toasted, salted pecans stored in the freezer will become rancid more quickly than unsalted nuts.

(Adapted from material provided by the La. Cooperative Extension Service)

Microwave Toasted Pecans

4 cups pecan halves
½ stick margarine or butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon Tony Chachere’s ® seasoning (salt, red& black pepper)              

Mix ingredients in Pyrex plate.  Heat in microwave on low for 5 minutes, then stir.  Repeat until toasted; will require 15 to 20 minutes depending upon moisture of nuts.
            ~ Thomas Norman, Alexandria, La.

Prize-winning Cheese Spread  

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 bunches green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 ounces pepper jelly

Mix all ingredients in a shallow serving dish.  Spread  pepper jelly over the top; cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Serve with crackers.
            ~ Clarice Williams, Newellton, Louisiana

Quick And Easy Pralines

1 cup brown sugar (preferably light)
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup canned milk (whole)

Mix the two sugars in a saucepan  and add milk. Allow to come to a boil over low heat, then cook exactly 3 minutes at same temperature.  Remove immediately from burner and add:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans, halves or coarsely chopped

Beat until thick, then drop by spoonfuls on greased surface or foil.  If thickened too quickly, add a few drops of hot water.  Doubles nicely.
            ~ Olga Johns Edwards, Center, Texas

Toasted Cereals & Pecans


1 stick oleo, melted
1  teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon chili powder

Combine in a large flat baking pan:

2 cups Cheerios
2 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups cup Rice Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
2 cups thin pretzel sticks
2 cups pecans, halves or coarsely chopped

Pour first mixture over cereal and nut mixture, stirring. Bake in 250 degree oven one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool and store in tight container.
            ~ Hope Norman, Alexandria, La.

French Toast (Pain Perdu or “Lost Bread”)

4 eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 loaf French bread, cut into 12  1-inch slices
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons melted butter or oleo

Whisk eggs, milk, sugar, spices and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.  Grease a 12 by 8 inch casserole with vegetable oil spray or melted oleo. Place bread slices in the pan and pour the egg mixture over.  Turn the slices over once, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from casserole and sprinkle with pecans, then drizzle with melted oleo.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm with cane or maple syrup.
            ~Adapted from Pecan South

Pecan Pie

2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup Karo Syrup, blue label (dark)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted oleo
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, halves or coarsely chopped

Mix ingredients, adding pecans last.  Pour into 9-inch pastry shell.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes.
            ~Willena Normand, Alexandria, La.

Broccoli Salad

1 bunch fresh broccoli, chopped
½ cup raisins, brown or golden
1 tart apple, chopped
½ cup purple onion, chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar 

Mix and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, add:

½ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
            ~ Miriam Brown, Boyce, Louisiana

Harry Truman’s Favorite Buttermilk Pie

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter or oleo
3 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
¼  teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
½ cup pecans, chopped and toasted

 Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a mixer, beat sugar into softened butter; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine flour and salt, and beat into butter mixture.  Beat in buttermilk until well blended.  Pour filling into crust and sprinkle toasted pecans on top.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until filling is set.  Cool and store in refrigerator.
            ~ USS Missouri Chef Harry Hightower

Grandmother’s Nut Cake

1 pound (4 cups) flour
1 pound sugar (2 cups)
¾ pound butter
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon soda dissolved in 1 cup whiskey
2 pounds shelled pecans (8 cups)
2 boxes seeded (muscat) raisins
6 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Coat raisins and nuts with flour and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.  Add molasses and spices, then add floured nuts and raisins.  Last add whiskey and soda mixture.  Bake in large stem pan lined with waxed paper for 3 to 3 ½ hours over a pan of water set on the oven floor. Keeps for weeks wrapped in aluminum foil.
            ~ Anne Turner, Jackson Mississippi

Honey Pecan Bars

2 teaspoons plus ½ cup butter (no substitutes), softened, divided
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup honey
½ cup whipping cream
4 cups chopped pecans

Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with foil; butter the foil with 2 teaspoons butter.  In a mixing bowl, cream remaining butter with brown sugar.  Add egg yolk; mix well.  Gradually add flour.  Press into prepared pan.  Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and honey.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat; stir in cream and pecans.  Pour over crust.  Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Use foil to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board.  Carefully remove foil and cut into bars.
            ~ adapted from Taste of Home magazine


Rosalie Pecans