What comes to mind when you think of pecan nuts? Could it be the fact that just one serving of pecans can meet ten percent of your daily fiber needs? Or, how about the over nineteen vitamins and minerals it contains?
All You Need to Know About Roasting Pecan Nuts
Just a handful of pecan nuts contains enough natural fibers, fats, and proteins to keep you energized until your next meal. Pecan nuts are a great source of antioxidants, the nutrients needed to strengthen your immune system. It’s an excellent choice for folks looking to manage their weight while improving their overall immunity.
Knowing how healthy pecan nuts can be is one recommended reason to include them in your daily diet. For a quick and memorable snack, roasted pecan nuts offer a tastier, more aromatic option. It’s one of the more popular reasons why people love the wholesome, buttery flavor.
Does Roasting Nuts Make Them Unhealthy?
Some roasting skeptics believe nuts lose part or all of their nutritional value when roasted or cooked. Fortunately, for healthy eating enthusiasts everywhere roasted nuts of any kind remain great sources of natural proteins, fiber, and fats. Of course, as with all foods, it’s also advised that you enjoy everything in moderation. This means watching meal portions and paying attention to serving sizes.
Roasted and raw nuts have such a minimal difference in nutrients that choosing how to eat them comes right down to personal preference. Roasting the nuts helps draw out the natural oils, creating that nice crunchy texture. If you are worried about excessive oils, don’t be. Most nuts contain enough oils which prevent them from absorbing more.
Pecans contain monounsaturated fats which some studies indicate can lower your cholesterol levels. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL, commonly known as bad cholesterol, can increase the chances of build-up along your arterial walls. Keeping high-density lipoprotein or HDL, otherwise known as your good cholesterol levels up will help maintain clearer arteries. Monounsaturated fats aid in this process by removing the bad cholesterol from the arteries.
Any build-up in the blood vessels, especially the larger arteries can result in life-threatening blockages. According to the American Heart Association, reducing the bad cholesterol in your arteries can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Should I Chop Pecans Before Roasting?
An interesting way to boost the flavor of pecans without roasting them is by chopping them up. This is because you are exposing more of the nuts' natural fats. As delicious as that may be, chopped nuts before roasting could increase their chances of burning due to the exposed oils.
If you can, wait to chop your pecans until after they have been roasted. Remember, roasting them will help draw out those natural fats. This process works to leave the pecans with a savory, crunchy coating made from its own natural oils.
What is the Best Way to Roast Nuts?
Roasting pecan nuts can be done using the oven, the stove-top, or the microwave. The simplest way is always the best way to roast nuts. It all depends on the amount you want to roast.
This is the suggested method for folks looking to roast a generous amount of pecans all at once. While your oven is preheating to three-hundred-fifty degrees Fahrenheit line your baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans into a single layer so they can cook evenly.
Chefs and bakers alike always advise you to use your nose in the kitchen. This advice rings true when it comes to roasting pecans. Bake them in the oven for five to ten minutes or until they are just a couple of shades darker and the nutty, sweet aroma fills your kitchen.
Carefully remove the parchment paper of pecans from the hot baking sheet and let them cool before you enjoy some or decide to store them.
Using a pan or skillet to roast pecans can take roughly five minutes and is the recommended technique for people looking to roast smaller amounts. Place a single layer of pecans into your stove-top pan and cook over low to medium heat. Don’t neglect to toss and shake the pan so the pecans are evenly roasted.
Once you notice evenly cooked sides, you can pour them over a paper towel or plate to let the cool.
Another good way to roast small amounts of pecans is by placing a single layer of them on a paper towel covered plate. Microwave them on high for two to three minutes. Make sure to stop it every minute to check for color change and aroma. The stronger fragrance and darker shade indicate they are well roasted.
Remove it from the microwave and allow them to cool on the plate before eating or storing them.
To roast your food means exposing it to dry heat and usually implies it’s being thoroughly cooked. There are two types of roasts, dry roasting or oil roasting. Oil roasted pecans mean that butter, oil, or similar fats were added. Dry-roasted pecans mean that no additional fats or oils were added.
Roasting Times and Temperatures
Anytime a food item that contains polyunsaturated oils is heated up it does lose some of its nutritional value. Some research has shown this is because the process of heating polyunsaturated fats changes the chemical composition, essentially allowing it to oxidize. Oxidation of fats means it becomes more prone to free-radicals. This process is what’s to blame for that slightly-off, sour odor from expired roasted nuts.
To avoid this unfortunate end, it’s recommended you remain strict about the temperature and roasting time of the nuts. One study indicated using low to medium temperatures to achieve the best results. Low to middle cooking temperatures will produce more desirable health benefits and a superior taste.
Storing Raw and Roasted Pecan Nuts
Preserving your pecans to keep them fresh is a must. This standard applies whether the nut is still in the shell (in-shell), has been removed from the shell (shelled), or was roasted. Pecan nuts contain so many healthy fats that leaving them out, at room temperature will speed up their degradation, thus losing their freshness. As stated by USpecans.org, the proper handling and storage of pecans can help them keep the overall quality, flavor, and aroma.
Freezing packaged in-shell or shelled pecan nuts can preserve them for as long as two years. Amazingly, pecans can maintain their quality when thawed and refrozen, only if handled in a timely manner. If refrigerated, shelled pecans in air-tight containers can stay fresh for up to six months and in-shell pecans can stay fresh for up to twelve months.
Roasted pecans when properly cooled and packaged in air-tight containers can be refrigerated for up to thirty days. If they are frozen, they can maintain quality for up to three months.
It’s time for some fresh pecans!
Pecans are such an inviting treat because of the soft, buttery taste when they are raw and the rich, crunchy flavor when they are roasted. Not to mention the amazing health benefits that are touted by nutritionists and experts alike.
Drop some finely chopped roasted pecans over your yogurt or toss a handful over your favorite salad. Easily dress up your breakfast, lunch, or main course with some delightful pecan recipes.
Rajaram S; Burke K; Connell B; Myint T; Sabaté J; A Monounsaturated Fatty Acid-Rich Pecan-Enriched Diet Favorably Alters the Serum Lipid Profile of Healthy Men and Women. The Journal of nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11533266/. Published September 2001. Accessed April 22, 2020.
American Heart Association. Monounsaturated Fat. www.heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats. Published June 1, 2015. Accessed April 22, 2020.
Moya Moreno MC; Mendoza Olivares D; Amézquita López FJ; Gimeno Adelantado JV; Bosch Reig F; Analytical Evaluation of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Degradation During Thermal Oxidation of Edible Oils by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Talanta. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18967717/. Published September 1999. Accessed April 22, 2020.
Schlörmann W;Birringer M;Böhm V;Löber K;Jahreis G;Lorkowski S;Müller AK;Schöne F;Glei M; Influence of Roasting Conditions on Health-Related Compounds in Different Nuts. Food chemistry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25766804/. Published August 1, 2015. Accessed April 22, 2020.
Pecan Handling and Storage. U.S. Pecans. https://uspecans.org/pecan-handling-storage/. (n.d.). Accessed April 23, 2020.