University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FCS8881

Florida Fresh: Pecans1

Claudia Peñuela2

Nutrition Facts

Florida's pecans are:

  • High in unsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats can help some individuals lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol level in the blood.

  • Naturally free of cholesterol and sodium.

  • A good source of fiber. Fiber reduces the risk of heart disease and promotes regular bowel movements.

  • Supplier of protein. Protein acts as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

  • A source of minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, and zinc.

  • A source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), which helps the nervous system work properly.

Note: Pecans are high in calories, so watch out with the serving size!

Figure 1. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Why buy locally?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the average farmers' market produce travels about 50 miles to its destination, compared to 2,000 miles for supermarket produce.

Buy locally and get these benefits:

  • Freshness and good nutrition. Fruits and vegetables harvested in their peak have better flavor and nutritional characteristics.

  • Social/cultural. Helps the community to be aware of the importance of agriculture.

  • Environmental. Protects the natural resources such as green space, wildlife, water, air, and soil.

  • Economic. Promotes local labor force.

Where are Florida's pecans harvested?

Florida's pecans grow in western and northern Florida.

When can you buy Florida pecans?

You can buy Florida pecans from October through January. This is four months out of the year!

Table 1. 














  • Pecans in the shell that are heavy for their sizes and are smooth and clean.

  • Pecans in the shell without scars, cracks, and mold.

  • Pecans in the shell that do not rattle when shaken. Rattling is a sign of age.

  • Pecans without shell that are clean and plump, and uniform in size and color.

Figure 2. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Florida Fresh Pecans: From Market to Table

Arugula Pesto

Yield: 8 Servings

2 cups packed arugula leaves

½ cup pecans

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic

1 lemon squeezed

1. Lightly brown all the garlic with a little olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool and eliminate the skins.

2. Dry-roast the nuts in a pan with no oil over medium heat until lightly brown. Mix the arugula, pecans and cooked garlic in a blender or food processor. Pour in the lemon juice and pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the blender. Remove the mixture from the blender and put into a bowl.

3. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Mix with freshly prepared pasta of your choice.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 20 cal; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 129 mg; Total Carbohydrates 7 g; Protein 5 g. High in Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Adapted from:

Celery Cherry Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

1½ cups celery diced

⅔ cup dried sweet cherries

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

¼ cup parsley chopped

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

3 Tbsp plain yogurt

2 Tbsp toasted pecans

3 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

  1. Combine celery, cherries, peas and parsley in a bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, combine outstanding ingredients to make dressing and stir.

  3. Pour dressing over celery mixture and stir until evenly coated.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 230 cal; Total Fat 11 g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 310 mg; Total Carbohydrates 27 g; Protein 5 g; Fiber 6 g

Adapted from:



This document is FCS8881, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published: August 2009. Reviewed, with minor revision: September 2012. Visit the EDIS website at


Claudia Peñuela, nutrition assistant-EFNEP, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.