I’m sure you are familiar with peanut butter, but have you tried pecan butter? Like the more popular peanut butter, pecan butter has a smooth, silky, spreadable quality. That is how pecan butter (and fruit butters in general) got its name.
Paccan or pakan is an Algonquin Indian word that means “a nut so hard it had to be cracked with a stone.” But Texans, and every pecan-loving person on the planet, did not have a hard time cracking the potential of pecans as a delicious and versatile nut.
Pecan butter is one of the many kinds of fruit butters. Pecans are treasured and loved by Texans, which is why they make a lot of different things from pecans, from candied pecan to pecan butter. This product, typically sold in a small glass jar, is a common item you’ll find in local stores and farmers’ markets, especially in places known to grow pecans trees.
This is a great, delicious, healthy sandwich spread. Making this product has helped the local economy. It gave the people another product to make and sell, and the customers are very excited when they see this food item on stock.
Pecan Butter Trivia
- The pecan tree is the official tree of Texas.
- Did you know that pecans are the easiest to shell of all the nuts found in North America?
- In 1960, University of Georgia published a 10-page circular dedicated on one product, entitled Pecan Butter–A New Product.
- Eating freshly harvested pecans? Make sure to soak pecans overnight first.
- San Saba County in Texas used to be the Pecan Capital of the World.
Pecan Butter Buying Guide
You can buy a jar of pecan butter in grocery stores, supermarket, specialty stores, in restaurants, in farmers’ markets and pop-up stores, or online. When buying pecan butter, always check the bottle and the safety seal. The plastic seal (or any safety seal) should be intact. If this is broken or damaged, the product may have been tampered with and the quality and safety have been compromised. Do not buy a jar of pecan butter with a damaged safety seal, or those with clear signs of damage like cracks on the bottle.
If you want to buy pecan butter, Texas makes the best pecan butter in the market. Many local businesses in Texas make and sell locally-made or local brand pecan butter, like Swift River Pecans in Lockhart; Moon and Sun Farm in Rio Medina; Salsa Basket in San Angelo; The Pecan House Country Store in Mineola; Millican Pecan Company in San Saba; and Rustlin’ Rob’s Texas Gourmet Foods in Fredericksburg.
While the US is a top maker of pecan butter, there are also brands from outside the US, like Meridian Pecan Butter from UK, which is also sold outside of the UK and in other European countries like Malta.
When buying pecan butter, we recommend you go local! There are many small, local, artisanal businesses that make small-batch pecan butter.
Pecan Butter Production & Farming in Texas
According to Texas A&M, there are 70,000 acres of Texas land that grow pecan trees.
The Wichita cultivar is considered as one of the most widely planted pecan tree, not to mention one of the most productive too, and this is the ideal cultivar to grow in Texas. The Wichita cultivar grows well in central and west Texas. The pecans that grow from Wichita pecan trees are used in making delicious pecan butter.
Part of the large annual pecan harvest in Texas goes to the local pecan butter-making industry. Pecan butter is either produced via large-scale commercial food production operation, or it is made by small, local, artisanal businesses and this is available as a seasonal fare. In Texas, pecan harvest season happens from October to January. Expect an increase in available jars of pecan butter during these months, extending to February and March.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals
The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) listed food additives that may be present in pecan butter.
- Defoaming agents
- Lactic acid
- Monocalcium phosphate (calcium phosphate monobasic)
- Potassium sorbate
- Saccharin (ammonicalcium, or sodium)
- Sodium sorbate
In the US, Texas ranks third in terms of pecan production, behind Georgia and New Mexico.
Outside of the US, pecan trees also grow in a number of regions and in different countries, like in Málaga, a province in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, as well as in Ukraine, Malta, China, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. Where there is a thriving pecan industry, expect pecan butter to be part of the products produced there, whether on a large commercial scale or as an artisanal / cottage industry level.
Pecan butter is commonly sold in wide-mouthed jars.
An important part of the packaging is the label, which contains important information for the consumers, including the name of the manufacturer, expiration or best-before date, ingredients, nutritional information, storage instruction, etc.
Enjoying Pecan Butter
There are many ways to enjoy pecan butter. Try spreading it on crackers or toast. Put pecan butter on your waffles or pancakes. Even slices of fruit like apples and bananas taste good with some pecan butter on it.
When it comes to storage, there are two things to consider. First, commercially-produced pecan butter made with ingredients that makes it shelf stable can actually stay on the counter or pantry at room temperature. This way, your pecan butter stays spreadable 24/7. But for artisanal, homemade pecan butters made without any kind of artificial preservatives, it is best to refrigerate to keep it from going bad, since products like this do not have the ability to stay in good condition when kept at room temperature for an extended period of time.
While pecan butter is commonly used as a spread, it can also be used as an ingredient if you are cooking. You can add pecan butter in your cookie dough or bread dough if you are making bread or cookies.
If you want to make pecan butter at home, it is easy and there are many recipes available online that you can browse and use as a guide. You simply roast the pecans, and then put these in a blender or food processor to crush into a creamy consistency before adding salt and other flavors like cinnamon to finish the job. Make sure to refrigerate homemade pecan butter to extend shelf life.
The 2001 study conducted by a team led by Dr. Sujatha Rajaram is considered as pivotal in thrusting pecans into the spotlight as a healthy food after the results of the study showed the effects of eating pecans on lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in the body. Since then, professionals in the field of science, medicine, health, and nutrition have become keenly aware of pecans’ potential to help the body remain healthy and strong. You can’t go wrong with eating pecans. This food is sodium-free. Pecans also contain nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and zinc.
Tonya Zavasta, in her book entitled Beautiful on Raw: Uncooked Creations, wrote: “Pecans contain phytochemicals that offer antioxidant protection from many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Because pecans contain mostly monosaturated fatty acids, they are recommended for low-fat diets by the American Heart Association.”
Lenny Wells, in the book entitled Pecan: America’s Native Nut Tree, wrote: “The pecan is ranked among the foods with the highest phenolic content.” Phenolic compounds help the body fight aging and inflammation, among other things.