Clean eating! That's the goal these days, right? We are urged to use fresh, whole, real ingredients. And we hear phrases like "cook the way your grandmother would have cooked". In other words nothing frozen, processed or modified. Which leads me to today's topic - creamy pecan butter. With only two ingredients, pecans and a dash of salt, you can't get more clean than that. But don't be fooled by its simplicity. The taste of creamy pecan butter is anything but simple. It's rich, bold flavor is just what you would expect from a pecan, yet the smooth texture inspires you to spread it on every snack as well as your morning toast. It's delicious! And clean!
What is Pecan Butter?
You might be wondering what pecan butter is, so let's break it down. Pecan butter starts with fresh pecans toasted in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. This brings out their natural flavors and oils. The toasted pecans are then placed in a food processor for several minutes. The initial blending will chop them so fine that what remains are tiny pieces of pecans, pecan meal and the natural oils. As the food processor continues to run the pecan meal and oil will blend together into a creamy butter for a fantastic flavor.
Fresh, whole ingredients. Nothing added or taken away. This is the pecan you would eat straight from the tree, but in a different form with a different texture. Much like you can eat your veggies in different forms: chopped, mashed or pureed. With little-to-no processing, pecan butter provides all the health benefits contained in the mighty pecan, but in a new and versatile way. We've talked about the benefits of pecans here on the blog before, but you might be surprised at how the pecan matches up to other nuts.
Pecan Butter vs. Other Nut Butters
All nut butters offer protein, good fats and loads of vitamins and minerals. In a side by side comparison the pecan offers more fat than the peanut, but in a good way. The pecan has more of the "good" fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated white offering less of the "bad" saturated fat. The pecan offers less carbohydrates, less sodium and less sugar than the peanut. Compared to the hazelnut, the pecan has less carbohydrates and less sugar. So, in both cases, the pecan is the winner of a lower glycemic index.
Why is this important? Glycemic index measures how foods affect your blood sugar levels. The goal here is a non-refined carbohydrate that your body will digest at a slower rate to help keep your blood sugar levels even. Hello - weight loss!
Balanced blood sugar levels are weight loss' best friend. And though the almond and pecan are equal in glycemic index measure the pecan has almond butter beat by 400% more antioxidants! In fact, pecans have the most flavonoids, an antioxidant found mostly in vegetables and fruits, than any other tree nut! Antioxidants are great for combating chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and cognitive decline. With these great benefits along with numerous other vitamins and minerals, pecan butter is a new must to incorporate into your nut butter rotation.
Variety is Key
Another aspect of clean eating and healthy eating is variety. Our bodies need an array of vitamins and minerals. Too often we get comfortable with our food choices and eat the same foods over and over. Many times eating them the same ol' way too. That's where foods like pecan butter can come into play. You can substitute pecan butter wherever you might use peanut butter, adding the variety that your body is depending on.
For those folks with a peanut allergy, pecan butter can be a great alternative. In fact, allergists from around the United States have been using Millican Pecan's Creamy Pecan Butter for several years now to help introduce pecans into their patients' diets. Patients with nut allergies can go through a treatment called immunotherapy. They are given tiny amounts of the allergen, which in this case are pecans, and then very gradually increase it over time. The reason allergists are choosing our Creamy Pecan Butter is that we only process pecans in our facility. Therefore they don't have to worry about any other nut allergies when going through the immunotherapy treatment.
Pecan butter is great at breakfast or for snacks to keep you focused and satisfied throughout the day. Here are some suggestions to try:
Cracker with pecan butter and strawberry slices
Toast with pecan butter and honey
Waffles with pecan butter and cinnamon
Apple slices dipped in pecan butter
Banana slices topped with pecan butter
Swirl into cookie or bread dough
Pecan butter is an easy swap with it's rich, unique flavor. It can actually feel like a treat or a bit of an indulgence. I think you will find that as you add pecan butter into your eating pattern you will find out just how special it really is.
Let us know how you like it!