Cynthia Clifton  |  4/5/2014 1:23:44 AM

Tracing back to the 16th century are the pecans. Pecans are the only major tree nut that naturally grow in North America. The word "pecan" is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe “nuts requiring a stone to crack." Pre-colonial people in North America widely used pecans as a major food source during the autumn month. They used them to make corn cakes and pecan milk. Pecan trees were first cultivated and grown in gardens of presidents Washington and Jefferson by the Native Americans.

These tasty nuts are healthy to eat year round, but are very popular during the holidays. They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals and are cholesterol-free. They are also an excellent source of protein and can be substituted for meat, poultry or fish by vegetarians. Ranked number 13 among the top foods that contain the highest antioxidant capacity, pecans can help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, cancer and heart disease. Pecans also contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple.

Adding more pecans to your family’s diet is the healthy thing to do. Pecans are a nut and they are considered a high allergen for children.

Kid-Friendly Treat: Best Ever Granola


  • 4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl mix the oats, pecans, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan whip the oil and honey and stir in the vanilla. Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon.

Spread the granola onto a large cookie sheet (15x10x1 inch). Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Stir in dried cranberries.

Makes 9-10 servings.


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