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Pecans are not only delicious, but they also have several health benefits making them one of the best nuts to purchase. When you shop for pecans, you are generally looking for them to be fresh and uniform in both color and size. Unshelled pecans can be stored for up to six months when stored properly and nuts still in the shell can last for as long as a year.
So, what is the proper way to store your pecans?
For Maximum Freshness
To maintain maximum freshness, you will want to use sealed plastic bags when storing the pecans in the freezer. When you store them sealed and in the freezer, you are effectively prolonging their shelf life. The best way to freeze pecans for later use is by shelling them prior to freezing them.
You can also store them in the refrigerator if you feel that they will be eaten and used a bit sooner. When storing your pecans in the refrigerator, any airtight containers will be sufficient.
If you plan on storing them outside of the refrigerator, then you should find a cool and dark place for the pecans. A good place in your kitchen is the pantry, and again, airtight containers or sealed plastic bags are good ways to package the pecans before use and for storing.
Why is it Important to Store Your Pecans Properly?
If you fail to follow the tips above and choose not to store your pecans properly, you risk losing the flavor, texture, and freshness of the pecans. They can also begin to rot and spoil when not properly handled. All this means lost money and lost pecans.
Proper storage can also help keep the bugs away from your pecan supply which is essential if you plan on storing them in the pantry.
More Points to Remember
One of the biggest factors to consider when storing your pecans is if they are shelled or not. When it comes time to using your unshelled pecans you had stored, then you simply pop open the shell and take out the pecan. It can then be used in any recipe you have as always.
However, if you stored your pecans in the freezer, it is important to thaw them out before using them. Once they are completely thawed, you can continue to use them as you please. Frozen pecans are typically unshelled and require a bit more work before being able to use them in your recipes.
Pecans are packed full of nutrients like magnesium, zinc, Vitamin A, fiber, and protein which makes them the ideal food to incorporate into your diet if you are looking to maintain a cholesterol-lowering diet.
If you want a few quick and easy ways to get your fill of pecans, the following are just a few ways you can incorporate them into your diet:
Use Pecans in a Green Salad
One of the easiest ways to use them is to crush them up and add them to a green salad. You can also add them chopped or crushed to your oatmeal in the morning for a good morning pick me up and an extra boost of energy.
Adding them to soup is good as well and will add that crunch you might be craving with your soup.
Create Your Own Snack Pack
You can also use them in your own little snack pack. They are the ideal food to take with you when you are on the move because they are mess free and easy to grab. Simply seal them in a plastic baggie or other sealed container and keep them within easy reach for a healthy snack option.
Adding Pecans to a Smoothie
You can also add chopped up pecans to your smoothie recipes to take advantage of the heart-healthy benefits this nut has to offer. Low-fat yogurt, ripe bananas, chopped toasted pecans, milk, honey, and a touch of cinnamon makes for a good smoothie that is perfect for any time of the day when you are craving something a little sweet and filling.
Toasting Your Pecans
If you choose to toast them, you can do so in the oven or in an iron skillet. To toast them in the oven, place the pecans on a baking sheet and use coconut oil and salt and bake them in a 350-degree oven for approximately five minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them, however, because they can burn easily.
If you choose to use your iron skillet, add them to a small amount of coconut oil and cook them on low to medium heat, stirring regularly. Once you get the aroma of that delicious nutty smell, you know they are ready to go.
With so many delicious ways to incorporate pecans into your healthy diet, there really is no excuse as to why they should sit unattended in your refrigerator or freezer. Pull out your pecans and start adding them to your favorite recipes for a heart-healthy and nutty addition to your meal plan.