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October is Texas Pecan Month

October is the perfect month for pecans. Local pecan farmers are starting to harvest some of the earlier varieties, the weather is at least slightly cooler and if you are like me you begin thinking about the holidays and especially holiday meals and foods. Pecans should rank at the top of your list as a holiday staple. With approximately 12,500 acres and nut sales averaging 10 to 18 million yearly, Comanche County is one of the top counties in the U.S. for pecan production. Certainly, pecans are extremely important to the economy in Comanche County.

Not only do pecans taste good, they are extremely nutrient rich and one of the healthiest snacks and food ingredients. The number of health benefits that have been discovered in scientific nutrition and health research studies on the pecan are amazing. Take a minute to look at some of these studies on the Texas Pecan Growers Association website: http://www.tpga.org/index.php, the Texas Pecan Board site: https://www.texaspecanboard.com/ or the American Pecan Council website: https://americanpecan.com/. You can also find lots of excellent recipes and other information about pecans on these sites.

Here is a list of some of the nutrition benefits offered by eating pecans:

• 90% of the fats in pecans are unsaturated (about 60% monounsaturated/30% polyunsaturated)

• A serving of pecans (30g) provides about 25 percent more oleic acid than a serving of olive oil (one tablespoon)

• Pecans are cholesterol free

• Pecans are sodium free

• Pecans are fiber-rich

• Pecans are a valuable plant protein source

• Pecans have more than 19 vitamins & minerals

• They are an excellent source of gamma tocopherol, an important type of vitamin E

• They contain concentrated amounts of natural plant sterols, touted for their cholesterol-lowering ability

• Pecans contain a variety of phytochemicals

• Nuts are recommended by the American Heart Association and U.S. Dietary Guidelines as a desirable source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

While the health benefits are wonderful it is the rich, buttery sweet flavor of the pecan that makes it popular. Fall is an excellent time to enjoy pecans in holiday recipes or just by themselves.

Comanche County has a strong pecan heritage associated with local pecan growers and families. Be sure to stop by one of the many local pecan outlets in the county this fall ask for and purchase some locally grown nutritious pecans, you will not be sorry.

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