When you think of pecans, you likely think of many sweet dishes that you and your loved ones enjoy around the holidays, such as pecan pie or sugar-roasted pecans. However, these crunchy, buttery nuts can be used in just about anything, from sweet baked goods to savory, spicy meals. Did you know that you can also cook with pecan oil?
Just like you would use olive or avocado oil to cook or make vinaigrettes, you can use pressed pecan oil to bring out tons of nutty flavor in your vegetables, meats, desserts and salads. Pecan oil also offers many health, hair and skin benefits that you may not have known about. Below, we'll cover why you should cook with pecan oil and offer some delicious recipes for you to try.
Health Benefits of Cooking With Pecan Oil
When you think of cooking oil, you may not instantly recognize the many health benefits that come with it due to many misconceptions about natural oils. Pecan oil, and pecans in general, actually provide several health benefits and boosts, such as:
- Improving your cardiovascular health: Pecans are rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, which can protect your heart from diseases like coronary heart disease by preventing the lipids in your body from oxidizing. Pecan oil can also aid in reducing the risk of strokes.
- Boosting your immune system: Pecans contain many natural vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, fiber, folic acid, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium, which all aid in supporting your immune system and helping your body fight off infections and damage. Pecan oil may even improve nerve conduction and brain functioning.
- Enhances digestion: Adding pecan oil to your daily diet can help regulate your colon health and promote regular bowel movements as pecans are one of the top nuts that aid in constipation. The nutrients in pecan oil aid in cleaning your gastrointestinal system, leading to reduced risk of colitis and colon cancer.
- Reduced risk of cancer: Research supports the belief that diets high in natural nuts lead to a reduced risk of cancer and cancer mortality. Pecans contain folate and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect your DNA from damage, such as from free radicals, which increases your risk of cancer and other diseases.
How Does Pecan Oil Affect Your Cooking?
Now that you know why pecan oil is good for you, it's time to focus on the fun part — cooking and eating it! Luckily, pecan oil has a very high smoke point, which is about 470 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you can use this resilient and durable oil for grilling, baking, searing, deep-frying and brazing to your heart's content. You may even notice that pecan oil allows you to achieve a perfect sear on a nice fillet of fish better than vegetable oils.
If you're hesitant to use a nut oil for certain dishes, know that pecan oil actually has a very neutral nutty taste, meaning it's not as distinct as olive oil. Cooking with pecan oil will not overpower your ingredients or seasoning, even if you're cooking with some delicate flavors. In fact, it's the perfect oil to use because its subtleness will only enhance the natural flavors of your food.
You can store your pecan oil at room temperature, where it has a shelf life of several months, or you can store it in your fridge to extend its use for about a year or longer.
Pecan Oil Recipes
Pecan oil is a fantastic substitute for cooking ingredients with high-fat contents, like butter. Feel free to substitute your normal cooking oils, butter, margarine or ghee with pecan oil for a much lower saturated fat content and the addition of many natural vitamins and minerals.
Here are some other ways you can use pecan oil in your kitchen:
- Frying: You can use pecan oil for frying up some traditional Southern dishes, like fried green tomatoes, fried catfish, fried pickles or fried chicken to bring out the natural flavors and add a slightly nutty taste to these classic foods. You can even drizzle pecan oil over carrots, sweet potatoes and other vegetables before roasting them for a crispy burst of flavor.
- Baking: A small amount of pecan oil goes a long way when baking desserts, such as pecan pie, bread, cakes, cookies and even cobblers. Pecan oil is a wonderful option that offers plenty of healthy, natural fats to your baked goods, and you can often use less than the amount of butter you would normally use.
- Salad dressing: Just like olive oil, pecan oil is a great base for homemade salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Mix together some pecan oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard and seasonings of your choice for an easy salad dressing you can keep in the fridge.
Pecan Oil for Skin and Hair
Aside from how pecan oil can boost your everyday meals and heart health, did you know it provides many benefits for your hair and skin? As a natural oil, pecan oil is used in many skin and hair care products because of its naturally moisturizing properties. Let's break down how you can use this product on your body:
- Skin: Pecan oil is a great source of vitamin A and E, which means it can keep your skin moisturized and help reduce skin inflammation and irritation from conditions like eczema, psoriasis and skin rashes. This hydrating oil helps to tighten and rejuvenate your skin, aiding in the production of new skin cells and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Pecan oil is also light and less comedogenic than other oils, so it's suitable to use as a face moisturizer or oil cleanser, even on sensitive skin.
- Hair: Because it's rich in amino acids, pecan oil can help keep your hair smooth and soft by adding a few drops to the ends of your hair daily or weekly. By massaging this oil into your scalp, you can promote blood flow and faster hair growth while reducing dandruff and split ends.
Visit Our Market Today!
We hope you've enjoyed learning about all the different ways you can use pecan oil to add a little variety to your favorite dishes. At Lane Southern Orchards, we've been growing pecans since 1908 right on our Georgia farm. As the largest grower of pecans and peaches in the U.S., we are proud to offer our farm fresh produce and goods, including Georgia pecan oil, to our community and beyond.
In addition to growing and picking produce, we make delicious treats that your whole family will love, such as cinnamon pecan breads, pecan pies and pecan ice cream. We invite you and your loved ones to spend a day at our farm and roadside market to try our delectable products for yourself. You can also shop our pecan products online and get them shipped right to your door.