Thinking Outside The Shell: Unconventional Uses Of Pecans
When it comes to pecans, their tasty flavors and versatile value knows no bounds. From the floors of your home to the milk in your fridge, pecans can pop up just about anywhere. Keep reading to discover unconventional uses of our favorite nut, perfect for gluten-free folks, home renovators, green thumbs, and barbecuers alike.
Whether due to dietary restrictions or simply preference, alternative dairy-free milks have been making an appearance on grocery shelves, barista counters, and restaurants everywhere. For those on the hunt for a new alternative milk to try out, pecan milk may be just the thing you’re looking for. You heard us right—just like almonds and cashews, pecans can be steeped to create a creamy “milk” of sorts too. And with its unmatched buttery flavor and sweet aftertaste, pecan milk is quickly moving up the ranks in the alternative milk world.
To make your own, simply soak pecans in a bowl of water for 30 minutes—if you want an even creamier milk, you can soak them up to 24 hours in the fridge. After a good drain, blend the pecans with 3 cups of water, and your added flavors of choice. Common choices are vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a dash of salt. After blending smooth, stick your mixture in the fridge for an hour to allow for the solids to separate. Strain out the solids that separate using a mesh strainer, pushing the liquid through the strainer as needed. Store in a sealed jar and enjoy for up to 1 week!
As mentioned in our original blog, pecan flour is an excellent alternative to classic wheat flour. Gluten-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free, pecan flour is a popular choice for people with celiac disease or following a ketogenic diet, as well as those looking for a healthier flour option in general. Bringing pecans into the mix brings in their healthy benefits too, packing in rich amounts of protein, fiber, and vitamin E to boost immunity, regulate cholesterol, and improve your skin and hair. On top of that, this golden brown flour adds a rich depth and flavor to any recipe, while still being easy to work with and even easier to make.
Our blog linked on the button below teaches you how to “Make Your Own Pecan Flour,” so we’ll spare you the details. But, it’s pretty much as simple as roast, chop, freeze, grind, and ta-da! You’ve made pecan flour, look at you!
Wood you rather
You’d be floored to find out that pecan wood is a popular choice in homes all around. Particularly popular in the South, pecan wood is a favorite for its irregular, unique grain and deep reddish-brown hues, featuring a hard, dense surface that stands up to high traffic areas of the house. Modestly priced and commonly mixed with hickory for strip flooring, pecan wood is often used in log cabins and even in rustic furniture.
Want to bring the power of pecans into your home? Contact your local home improvement retailer to see the beauty of pecan wood up close and personal.
When chopped into chunks or chips, pecan wood is a secret ingredient for barbecue smokers across the country. Burning slowly and giving meats a delicate taste, pecan wood chunks provide a punch of flavor that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Professionals and amateurs alike appreciate pecan chunks for their pungent, yet smooth flavor, adding a perfect counterbalance to the smokiness and spice of their meats and sauces.
Next time you chow down at your local barbecue joint, there’s a chance your meal was cooked over pecan wood. And if you’ve got a smoker at home, pick up some pecan smoking chips from your local home improvement store to bring your smoking to the next level.
A bit mulch
So we dove under the pecan shell and all the way up to the tree’s branches. What’s left of the pecan to be used? Well, the shell itself. That’s right–the course, yet even texture of pecan shells makes for the perfect gardening and landscaping mulch. With a naturally rich red tone to add contrast to your green gardens and landscaping, the value of pecan mulch is more than meets the eye: It also conserves soil moisture and prevents unwanted growth to keep your plants in check. Slightly acidic like the nuts inside, pecan shells are a favorite for acid-loving plants like azaleas. And, it’s lighter in weight than common mulch, making your wheelbarrow trips a bit easier on the back. It will naturally decompose in time like many mulch options, but it’ll surely provide a beautiful, eye-catching look to its very end.
Sold on pecan mulch? Check out your local garden nursery or specialty store to get started. Bonus points for reducing waste and making the most of our favorite nut!