It’s safe to say that for centuries the pecan has been considered as American as Ford trucks and apple pie. The pecan is the only major tree nut that’s native to North America. Today 80% to 95% of the pecans grown in the world come from the United States.
The word “pecan” can be traced back as far as the 16th century among Native American tribes. The word itself is of Algonquian origin and means “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”
Did You Know?
Pecan oil contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and has less saturated fats than other oils like olive oil, peanut oil, corn oil, and butter.
70% (by weight) of the pecan kernel is made up of heart-healthy oil.
Due to high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, pecan oil is sometimes used in lotions, soaps, massage oils, and other skin and hair care products.
One of the first major distributors and marketers of pecans came out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Due to its location, the city offered the largest avenue for redistributing pecans nationally and internationally. During the 1700’s and early 1800’s, the pecan became a large item of commerce for all American colonists (just like cotton) and the pecan industry was born!
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, pecans and their byproducts have been a house-hold favorite in America. However, while the tale of the pecan is an old one, some of its byproducts have shorter stories. The most recently discovered pecan byproduct in the past fifteen years is pecan oil.
How to Use Pecan Oil
Pecan oil is an edible pressed oil extracted from the pecan nut. Pecan oil is neutral in flavor and usually takes on the flavor of the seasoning being used with it.
Prior to extraction, the nuts are lightly roasted and heavily ground. Next, mechanical extraction methods are used to remove all oil from the pecan. Mechanical extraction is normally used instead of chemical methods, in order to preserve the natural nutty flavor infused into the pecan, as well as the nutrients embedded in the oil.
This oil is not only better for you than other oils, it’s also great for everyday cooking. Thanks to its high smoke point (470°F – higher than other oils), pecan oil can be used for grilling, baking, and frying. It also makes a great base for sauces and salad dressings. Give it a try!
Pecan oil can be a hard item to find in local grocery stores because it’s considered a specialty oil, but you can pick it up at our gift shop. The pecan oil we carry does not contain additives, preservatives, or stabilizers. For an added benefit, this pecan oil has been winterized so you can store it in your refrigerator to make it last longer without worrying about it getting thick or cloudy.
We have several recipes on our blog that use pecan oil. Browse or search our recipes here.
For more information about the history and health benefits of pecans and pecan oil, check out these sites: