One of the varieties of nuts harvested from the hickory tree that has a hard, thin, tan outer shell containing a beige and brown nut on the inside. The pecan is crisp textured with a sweet, buttery flavor due to a very high fat content of over 65%. Pecans are available shelled or unshelled and shelled pecans are available whole, halved and chopped. They are eaten raw or can be added to sweet and savory dishes.
When selecting unshelled pecans, look for those with unblemished and uncracked shells, and the nut should not rattle in the shell. Due to the high fat content in pecans, care must be taken in storing to prevent them from becoming rancid. Unshelled pecans can be stored for up to six months if tightly wrapped and keep in a cool, dry place. Shelled pecans should be kept in an airtight container and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months or six months in the freezer.