Not even apples make our mouths water for pie like this native North American nut. Yet the luscious pecan (pronounced pih-KAHN or PEE-kan, depending on where you're from) has many uses beyond this stickily sweet dessert.
Look for pecans with clean, unblemished, uncracked shells. Shake the pecan -- it shouldn't rattle.
Pecans have a higher fat content (mostly monounsaturated fats) than other nuts and are therefore more perishable. To keep them from spoiling, double-bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to three months or in the freezer up to six.
Toasting pecans brings out their flavor, plus it's easy to do: Bake nuts at 350°F for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
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