September 4, 2018 6:19 am 1 Comment
This is the story of two pecan halves. It’s a good story: it’s going to take us through the best of times, and the worst of times. All in all, it’s likely to be a far, far better blog than many others you’ve read recently. More to the point, it has a real cutting-edge, guillotine-sharp message: Eat organic.
Two pecans, both alike
At first glance, the two pecan halves looked very similar. One was organic, one non-organic. They were both from the same supplier and had exactly the same best-before date. The non-organic was grown in the USA and the organic in Peru. Last week, I tested both.
The pecan tree is a large tree that grows well in places with long, hot, humid summers, such as South America and the southern United States. The trees can live and bear fruit for up to 300 years. They produce a fruit with a stone inside, surrounded by a husk. The husk starts out green and turns brown, before splitting into four sections, to release a seed: that’s the pecan.
The worst of times
Life isn’t particularly easy for a pecan tree. It can suffer from a whole range of diseases, including pecan scab, as well as the effects of bacteria and fungi. It will probably be attacked by an array of insects, including the wonderfully named ambrosia beetles and twig girdlers, along with hickory shuckworm (not the name of a Dickensian shyster, but of yet another voracious beetle).
Pecans are, of course, big business, and they’re not left to suffer. Much research and development has been carried out into protecting the trees and making their yields greater. Numerous fungicides and preventive sprays and measures are available.
Organic and non-organic pecans: what’s the difference?
The non-organic pecan I tested last week was reddish in colour, while the organic was a lighter brown. The organic pecan halves were larger, firmer and crisper to the bite; the non-organic were softer and smaller.
The taste difference between the two was pronounced. The non-organic pecan tasted fine: a little sweet, a little buttery. However, the organic pecan had a depth and complexity of flavour that far outweighed the other. It was nutty and buttery – but also deeply fruity. The taste developed as I munched my way through the nut, and it lingered afterwards.
We sell both organic and non-organic pecans, quite happily, at Naturally Good Food. Judging solely by taste, the organic pecan is head and shoulders above the non-organic. It’s the very best of pecans – how the perfect pecan should taste!
Why we should eat organic
Everyone has their own reasons for eating organic (or for not doing so). We can bang on about it all we like in a theoretical way, but sometimes it’s a simple taste test that makes it plain.
At Naturally Good Food we think that organic food tastes better – and we think that it tastes better because it is better: better-grown, uncontaminated, and with a better nutritional make-up, containing more minerals, vitamins and other vital elements. We think these factors make it better for our inner health, and that the way in which organic food is grown is better for the health of the planet.
In the UK, the Soil Association regulates organic labelling and production. They spell out very clearly what ‘organic’ means:
‘Organic always means:
- Fewer pesticides
- No artificial colours & preservatives
- The highest standards of animal welfare
- No routine use of antibiotics
- GM Free’
Across the world, as regulated by numerous different bodies, this is what organic means.
Pecans and pesticides
Non-organic pecans are grown with as many pesticides as are needed to keep the trees fully productive. In the US more than 80 pesticides are accepted for use on pecans in certain states. Various organisations dispute their safety: some claim that around 30 of these pesticides are seriously hazardous to health. They link several of them to severe health problems and claim they are also poisonous to wildlife, as well as liable to contaminate waterways and groundwater. Not everyone agrees with their findings, of course: it should be noted that tests on non-organic pecans show that they are safe to eat. Those who prefer to eat organic, however, point out that the thin husks of the pecans make these nuts particularly susceptible to the impact of pesticides.
Organic farming uses pesticides too, but only a tightly controlled and small group of substances, which do not have harmful effects on the environment or leave residues on the food.
Pecans and nutrition
There is a growing body of research showing significant nutritional differences between organic produce and non-organic. And there is an equal amount of research claiming to disprove this! At Naturally Good Food, we feel that the taste says it all: the depth of flavour and the lack of artificiality produce a seed that is rich in nutritious elements.
What makes pecans good for us? Well, they’re a great source of fibre. They’re packed with manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and thiamin. They’re a good source of protein, iron and B vitamins. The higher the level of nutrition, the better the pecan – and that’s why we feel it’s important to get the very best pecans you can.
Pecans and the planet
Eat an organic pecan and you can be sure that you’re taking care of the planet. Organic regulations insist that the trees producing the seeds are protected and that the soil around the trees remains sustainably fertile. In organic farming, streams and groundwater will be uncontaminated by pesticide residue. Wildlife will be protected and encouraged, rather than killed by pesticides (US organic organisations claim that many of the pesticides used on non-organic pecan trees are toxic to honey bees).
As Dickens might have said: we’ve got everything before us – eating organic lets us protect it!
The best of times
For taste, for nutrition, for health and for the environment: we at Naturally Good Food think that organic is the very best. We want to keep our world, our soil, and our waterways safe for the next generation, and whilst doing so, to enjoy some pretty amazing food.Organic, organic pecan halves, organic pecans, pecan halves, pecan pieces, pecans, soil association
This post was written by Yzanne