HOW WE CAN INCREASE THE USE OF PECANS IN OUR HOMES

Pecan Research
HOW WE CAN INCREASE THE USE OF PECANS IN OUR HOMES --------- Mrs. H. G. Lucas, Brownwood, Texas How can we increase the use of pecans in our homes? In the first place, it seems to me, we shall have to teach the consuming public and many of our growers as well, that pecans are an all-year-round food. Too long have people thought of them as merely a holiday luxury. There is no more reason for so considering them than any their food, for, contrary to popular opinion, there is no noticeable deterioration, either in quality or in flavor, when kept from season to season if reasonable care is taken of them. Even with such staple articles as flour and other cereals, unusual precautions must be taken in hot weather. When pecans are compared to the foods to which they approach nearest in food content---foods of high protein and fat percentage, such as meats, eggs, butter and cheese---we find the keeping qualities of pecans very much superior. The bulk of the supply, either whole or shelled, can be kept in cold storage, and small amounts---a week or two's supply---taken out as desired. Shelled pecans are also put up successfully under vacuum in tin or glass, but it should be borne in mind that heat will eventually spoil them. The chief requisites for keeping pecans in a cool, dry place. Really there should be just as great a demand for pecans in the summer as in the winter, because it is then that the heavier articles of diet begin to pall, variety and change, and foods that do not seem too heating TEXAS PECAN GROWERS' ASSOCIATION 55 are desired. Still the body must be nourished, a certain amount of protein and fats are necessary, and this brings me to my second point, which cannot be emphasized too often---that is that pecans are real food, that a pound of shelled pecans has approximately the same food value as four pounds of beef. So that, when the day seems just too hot, a handful of these delicious nut meats sprinkled over a cooling fruit salad, or a pecan bread sandwich and an ice-cold drink, will keep the human machine running as it should and at the same time tempt the jaded appetite. I should like to give the Association a little slogan for the summer: "A jar of shelled pecans in every refrigerator." However, I shall not go into the matter of the numerous tempting dishes to be made with this wonderful nut, nor shall I go further into the comparative nutritive value of pecans, as I did that last year. Just as a reminder, though, here is a table showing some of these comparisons which I worked out from the analyses of reliable dietetic authorities: According to U. S. Government statistics a pound of shelled pecans has four times the food value of the edible portion of a pound of meat. One-half ounce of pecans contains 100 calories of food units, equal to a lamb chop or a hamburger steak costing several times as much. One-half ounce of pecans equals one and one-third eggs, or one-half cup of macaroni and cheese, or a slice of chicken, a large potato, or two heads of lettuce, or 1 1/8 -inch cube of cheese, or one-half cup of salmon. Pecans have 12% protein, 70% fat and 18% carbohydrates; they also contain valuable mineral salts, including phosphorus, a brain-building requirement. Pecans are also a valuable source of the vitamins, those elements so essential to growth and life. Meat contains 65 to 75% water, pecans only 3.4%. Note, please, that in addition to this actual food value, pecans are also one of our valuable sources of mineral salts, especially phosphorus, the brain-building requirement, and are full of vitamin "B," that mysterious element that is so essential for growth and health, yet is lacking in so many food materials. When people are educated to this knowledge that pecans are real food, they will cease to look on them as a luxury, but will consider them as they are, no more expensive than many of the more common foods. The value, the amount of nourishment furnished by a given foodstuff, is what makes it expensive or the contrary. However, if pecans are to be used very extensively in cooking or as food, it is necessary to make them convenient and easy to use; that is, to encourage the use of the shelled nuts. This will tend also to increase the demand for the large, choice pecans in the shell, for by taking the smaller nuts off the retail market, the consumer will be assured of only the highest quality and choicest nuts when he desires them. Small sized nuts are just as good for cooking and most purposes, and as we growers know, the small pecans are often the best flavored. These shelled nuts will, more- 56 FOURTH ANNUAL SESSION over, have to be put up in sealed, sanitary containers, properly labeled or branded, to meet the requirements of the modern, scientific housekeeper, who believes that it is better to pay slightly more and know that the food is clean, sweet, and guaranteed, than to pay a few cents less for the bulk unlabeled article. The question then arises, “How are we going to go about educating the general public as to these facts: first, that pecans are a staple all-year-round food; second, that pecans have a very high food value in a concentrated form; third, that considering this high food value, pecans are not expensive; fourth, that pecans can be used in hundreds of dishes and not merely in cakes and candies; fifth, that by buying the shelled nuts the usual bother and loss of time in preparing them for the table can be avoided?" The most obvious answer is, of course, by an extensive advertising campaign, such as the walnut and almond growers of California are putting on. But that takes more organization and co-operation than we have yet attained, and until we are ready for that, there are several ways by which each one of us and the Association as a whole can increase the use of pecans. We can serve various pecan dishes ourselves on every occasion. We should make a study of the more unusual as well as the ordinary ways of using these delicious nuts, so that our friends will begin thinking more about them and using them, and so disseminate the information. We can see that our home papers publish pecan recipes and articles treating of the food value of pecans. We can also send our favorite pecan recipes to the household magazines. I am glad to see that an idea that I started about three years ago has been taken up by a large pecan company in the east---a Pennsylvania company having their orchards in Georgia. They are now publishing a booklet of pecan recipes and are offering $50 in prize money for the best recipes. Let us hope that some of these prizes will be won by Texas housewives. We can talk pecans at every possible time, be pecan enthusiasts in every way. There is no trouble about convincing people that pecans are one of the very best things that nature has given us. But we should go further than this and inform ourselves as to their food value and the other facts, so that we can speak definitely and with authority as the occasion arises. We should try to make every citizen of Texas realize what invaluable and distinctive asset pecans are to our state. Georgia, Alabama, Louisana are properly proud of their "Papershells," but our Texas pecans have a superior flavor and many of our natives are just as large and thin shelled. We should know, and let everyone know, that Texas produces most of the pecans for the world's supply and connect in the public mind the words "Pecans" and "Texas." The large majority of people in the north TEXAS PECAN GROWERS' ASSOCIATION 57 do not realize there are any good pecans aside from the papershells of the east. They have been accustomed to being shown small, inferior, and often stale nuts and being told that these are Texas pecans. This is a situation that we must fight energetically in order to build up a demand for our product. Finally, one of the best and most definite ways to increase immediately the use of pecans is for the Association to utilize the splendid machinery of our A. & M. Extension service by asking the Home Demonstration Agents in the various counties to devote some time in their clubs to teaching the value and use of pecans. We should also ask the Domestic Science Teachers in our high schools throughout the state to do the same thing. We should supply these agents and teachers with all the Association papers bearing on the subject If the Association sees fit to do this, I should be glad to furnish a copy of my pecan recipe book for each one. The Association should also ask the A. & M. College to give the necessary instruction at the Agents' summer course at the College and stress the importance of increasing the use of our Texas product. We should request the Domestic Science Departments of the Colleges of the State, especially the College of Industrial Arts at Denton, where most of our domestic science teachers are trained, to emphasize the value and use of pecans. It is good to note that John Tarlton, the Junior A. & M. College at Sephenville, is giving attention to this matter. Pecans are destined to be one of the most distinctive and also one of the most important products of Texas, so it behooves every citizen of our states to learn the facts about them, be enthusiastic consumers of them, and utilize every possible agency to further their consumption.

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