In season from October through December, the arrival of fresh pecans has jump-started my need to make room in the freezer for up-coming holiday cooking and baking projects. So long as they are properly stored, shelled fresh pecans will keep in the freezer for “up to two years,” say experts like the folks at the Georgia Pecan Commission, making it possible to enjoy the taste of tree-fresh pecans not only during the holidays, but all year long – and beyond. When they are available, buy fresh shelled pecans in bulk for use in recipes and for eating out of hand and, so long as they are at their optimum when they are placed in the freezer, pecans will remain that way, even if they are frozen, allowed to thaw and re-frozen again. Holding more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, a number of B vitamins and zinc, pecans are also especially nutritional because they contain more antioxidants than other nut. Good for making more than just cookies pies and pralines, pecans may be used in a wide array of dishes for breakfast and brunch, to main courses, sides, desserts and more. Pecans add crunch to stuffing and relish, flavor to chicken salad and a bit of pizzazz to mixed green or fruit salads. If you are wondering how to measure pecans, know that one pound of in-the-shell pecans will yield about three cups shelled pecans and that a pound of shelled pecans will give you about three and three-quarters cup chopped pecans. The time for enjoying the holidays is literally right around the corner, but for fresh pecans, the time is now.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.