Maple Pecans

This week Helen tried a new recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, “Holiday Pecans.”

This are raw, soaked, and dehydated pecan halves coated with whipped egg whites and delicately flavored with maple syrup and vanilla. Here is the recipe as she modified it:

1 cup crispy pecan halves
1 egg white
2 pinches sea salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix pecans with 1 pinch of salt and filtered water and leave in a warm place overnight. Drain in colander. Spread pecans on stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Slowly beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Fold in pecans until well coated. Spread on two buttered, stainless steel baking pans and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for several hours until egg white coating hardens. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Instead of using the oven, Helen used the more energy efficient and labor-saving option of a food dehydrator. This is a great appliance to have for healthy cooking and food storage.

I’ve posted before about how healthful nuts and seeds are as a snack. Check out that post here. The upshot of it is, that seeds and nuts contain chemicals known as phytates that inhibit digestion and assimilation. Soaking or sprouting them in water overnight denatures most of these phytic acids, making the nutrients easier to break down and assimilate in your body. Once they’ve been soaked, they’ll need to be dehydrated in order to store them. I store them in the fridge in our warm, damp New Orleans climate if I don’t plan on eating them all within a few days.

Here’s what fitness and anti-aging guru Mike Mahler posted the other day in relation to the benefits of nuts and seeds in your diet:

“Plant sterols are found in food such as Avocado’s, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, pistachios, Maca, rice germ, and wheat germ.

“Many think that these foods help increase T levels as people often notice an increase in sex drive, better workout recovery, and increased muscle mass from adding such foods. However, these foods do not directly increase T or any other hormone. Indirectly as fats they help increase hormones as the body needs fat to create hormones via cholesterol.

“Yet the plant sterols are used like testosterone and progesterone and are thus hormone supporting nutrients. When you eat these foods your body can metabolize them and use them like they would use T and other hormones (not GH though). Thus, your body does not have to burn through stored hormone reserves which go down with age, stress, over training, you name it. These foods will thus help support what you have and help avoid depleting your reserves further. Also they will not shut down natural production of hormones. They also help clear out bad chemical estrogens.

“Take home message, add some plant sterols to every meal. Add maca to protein shakes, add rice germ to a shake, add an avocado to a salad, add nuts and seeds to your dinner, you get it.

“Have spice and plant sterols at every meal without fail and you will notice a difference.”

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~ by nolashaolin on February 27, 2009.

One Response to “Maple Pecans”

  1. Hi sifu. I have a M.S. in biochemistry, so I have some pertinent comments here I hope.

    I love tree nuts very much, but care should definitely be taken when exposing them to moisture, and in eating them in general.

    Aside from the commonness of allergies to tree nuts (I have a friend who gets adverse reactions from traces found in many processed foods), a major danger in tree nut consumption is the growth of toxic fungi. A mycologist at LSU (Dr. Meredith Blackwell) once told me that mycologists rarely eat nuts because some very toxic fungi love to grow in them. Her advice to me: If you ever find a nut that is slightly questionable in color or flavor (especially a bitter one), spit it out and/or throw it away without hesitation. Better safe than sorry. The aflatoxins are just one group of fungal toxin that grows in tree nuts that can seriously sicken any animal.

    On the subject of phytosterols, I can say with confidence since I regularly test for them that they are very common in the vegetable oils of olives, almonds, avocados, and they are present to a very large extent in saw palmetto extracts. So those can also be a nice source of plant sterols in the diet.

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