Toasting pecans, or other nuts, brings out their natural flavors and crunch. Toasting also allows the oils to be activated in the nuts so they stay crisp. It’s super easy to do and only takes 10 minutes! Eat them as snacks, in salads, on a cheese board and in your various baking recipes.
There are many types of pecans, over 1,000, and are native to North America. However, only about 20 are in commercial use. Many are named after well-known Native American tribes, including Cheyenne, Choctaw, Mohawk, Shawnee and Sioux. The trees can appear similar but the nuts can only be distinguished by their size, flavor and the thickness of their shell. It takes between 7 to 10 years before a tree produces a full supply of nuts. After that, the tree can produce up to 100 years! Some of the more popular varieties are Stuart, Elliott, Desirable, Moreland and Cape Fear.
In Georgia, there are many varieties of nuts including almonds, black walnuts and American chestnuts. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Sunnyland Farms in Albany, Georgia to tour their orchard and processing facility.
Winter time in the Sunnyland Farms orchard.
Sunnyland Farms has been a family-owned business since 1948. They are unique in that they are both farm and manufacturer. The pecans stay on site so they have absolute quality control. Their amazing team cares for 1,760 acres of pecans. Visit their website and see all of the tasty goodies they offer. There are so many great reasons to support local farms. You’re getting a quality product straight from the source and supporting hard working people and their families. Find out more about how pecans get from the tree to your table.
An impressive sight.
Farms never take a break. They work consistently to bring us healthy food. They are subject to drought, bugs and hurricanes (Sunnyland was hit in 2018 by Hurricane Michael). They push hard to recover and replant to keep up with need and demand. Check for local farms in your area and make a purchase to show your support.
HOW TO TOAST PECANS IN THE OVEN
I prefer my toasted pecans to be plain when going into the oven. I like the basic earthy taste and texture when adding them to dishes. I place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, unsalted, and toast at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes.
AS SNACKS, you can…
- Toss in butter or oil before baking.
- Add a pinch of salt for more flavor.
- Toss in seasonings like cajun seasoning, garlic salt, paprika, maple syrup, honey…whatever you like!
TOASTING PECANS IN A PAN
When toasting smaller batches…
- Heat a medium or large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add up to 1 1/2 cups of raw pecans in a single layer (amount of pecans based on the size of your skillet)
- Allow pecans to toast for 3-5 minutes.
- Stir pecans, or toss, while toasting to make sure they toast evenly.
- Allow to cool completely before storing.
Start with a single layer of pecans in the pan and toss around in the skillet for more even toasting.
HOW DO I STORE PECANS?
- Toasted pecans can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks.
- In a refrigerator, toasted pecans will last 1 month, up to 3 months in the freezer.
How To Toast Pecans
Toast pecans in the oven, or in a pan, to bring out their natural earthy and buttery flavor.
- 1-3 cups raw pecans
- Butter or oil (optional)
- Salt or seasonings (optional)
TOASTING PECANS IN OVEN:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss pecans in seasonings (optional)
Place halves in a single layer on baking sheet.
Toast pecans for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
TOASTING PECANS IN PAN:
Heat a medium or large skillet on medium-high heat. (can use a non-stick skillet)
Add up to 1 1/2 cups of raw pecans in a single layer (amount of pecans based on the size of your skillet)
Allow pecans to toast for 3-5 minutes.
Stir, or toss, pecans while toasting to make sure they toast evenly.
Allow to cool completely before storing.