March 25th Pecan Day

Pecans are celebrated today because, supposedly, it was March 25th, 1775 that George Washington first planted a pecan tree at Mount Vernon. Of course Native Americans had been eating them for a thousand years or more before that. The pecan is in the hickory family and there are over 1,000 different varieties of them. They are actually a fruit, not a nut and some 90% of those grown in the world come from the United States. They can be used in several different types of dishes but my favorite is a pecan pie. Who knew it was really a fruit!?!

How to celebrate – Find out the uses for pecans in recipes. Find out what makes 1,000 varieties of pecans. Visit Mount Vernon.

July 12th National Pecan Pie Day

I love pecan pie, probably my most favorite pie of all kinds made. Though it is normally associated with holidays it can, and should, be available all the time. Sweet and nutty, crunchy and gooey, all at the same time. It is primarily a southern dish originally introduced, in one fashion or another, by Native Americans who had been using the pecan for more than 8,000 years. The pecan by itself is healthy, maybe not so much when we make a pie out of it, but who cares… it is soooo good!

How to celebrate – Have some pecan pie! Try chocolate pecan pie. Get a southern cooking recipe book.

October 22nd National Nut Day

There are all sorts of nuts in the world. Crazy people, the type that goes on bolts and those we can’t mention. But today we are going to talk about the editable type. And Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes!

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However, things like pumpkin seeds and squash seeds are actually considered nuts. In part because all nuts are seeds. I can honestly say there isn’t a nut I do not like, and what’s even better, they are good for you! Now there are some nuts you should not eat, like Candlenuts that are crushed and their oil used but it got me wondering how many nuts I could name.

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I got, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecan, pistachio, Brazil, pine, acorn and Macadamia… my all time favorite. And nuts are very versatile as well. They can be used in salads, in syrups, in all sorts of desserts, as meat tenderizers, drinks, coffee creamers.. well yu name it, and it probably contains nuts!

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Of course, a lot of people are allergic to nuts, but primarily the peanut which again, is not a nut! The nut has been with us since the beginning of time and it will probably be there long after man has disappeared from the face of the earth.

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Nuts are definately good for your heart. They contain unsaturated fats, Omega 3 fatty acids and lots of Vitamin E. You should make njuts a part of every meal and snack, you’ll feel better and look better.

How to celebrate – Gather up some nuts for winter! Bake a pecan pie! Make some trail mix with lots of nuts in it.

 

 

September 21st National Pecan Cookie Day

It’s hard to beat a pecan cookie. Sweet and a little nutty and perhaps a little healthier than an Oreo. (Or maybe not) I do know it’s pretty hard for anyone to refuse this treat and it goes great with ice cream!

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In fact, a pecan goes with just about anything. White Chocolate, caramel, butterscotch… The pecan is a species of hickory.It is native to Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The actual name comes from t he Algonquian language and means, a nut that has to be cracked with a stone.

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I have to wonder how they figured out that a pecan could even be eaten.  I mean, if they had to use a stone to crack it open who would have thought of doing that? Of course we eat a lot of things that someone had to try first, like snails and squid.  Who looks at something that and goes, “Yum, I think I’ll eat that!”

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But we are glad they did because otherwise we couldn’t enjoy recipes like the one we have for you here.

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How to celebrate – Enjoy a pecan cookie in whatever style you prefer. Try a pecan coffee drink or ice cream.  Invent your own pecan and whatever cookie.

 

 

August 3rd Grab Some Nuts Day

No, it’s not what you think (shame on you – really?)!  The nut is possibly one of the most healthful foods you can munch on. Most contain linoleic acid, amino acids, vitamins E and B2, folate, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, and antioxidants. Chances are, if it comes in a shell, and it’s not a taco, it’s a nut, which is actually a seed.

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Though the peanut is actually a legume, we won’t leave it out (baseball would never forgive us). Among the nut family are almonds, acorns, Brazil, cacao, cashews, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnut, macadamia, pecans, pile, pine, pinon, pistachios, soy, sunflower, tiger, walnuts, and my cousin Vinnie – but I digress…

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While nuts are best for us served raw, they also come roasted, salted, seasoned, unsalted, and in every form of butter you can imagine. George Washington Carver, the Forest Gump of the peanut world, came up with hundreds of uses for nuts including plastics, paint, dyes, and gasoline.

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Different kinds of nuts grow all over the world and are a part of nearly every diet. My favorite is the macadamia from Hawaii. It is fabulous in it’s natural state but can also be covered in chocolate, dipped in ice cream, used to flavor a coffee creamer, and used in dishes that like to mix crunch into the blend. The same can be said for the hazelnut, as well as pecans, walnuts, and nearly every kind of nut variety.

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So grab your nuts and munch away… but remember to take small bites and make them last longer.

How to celebrate – Buy a can of mixed nuts and sample a variety for yourself. Make sure you are not allergic to the type of nuts you are eating. Most allergies seem to be in the legume family but can vary. Find different dishes you can include nuts in.