Pecans have long been an important food for the Choctaw People, and Achukma Pecan Oil is helping to share its many benefits with the world in a new way.
Achukma Pecan Oil in Coleman, Oklahoma, began when father and son Dan and Mark Hamilton, members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, needed to figure out a new business plan. Their company, Tri-Agi Farm Center, cleaned peanuts grown locally. When peanut farming moved to Texas in 1999, they lost that business and were left with expensive, specialized machinery. They began cleaning pecans that grow natively throughout Oklahoma, but in 2013 pecan prices began to fall as well. They also knew that pecans that were broken in processing were of little value at all.
But the Hamiltons realized that pecans were more than a nut crop. They contained useful and healthy oil, and if they could extract that and bottle it they’d have a new market and product.
Through a lot of ingenuity and trial and error, the Hamiltons were able to adapt their equipment to produce pecan oil. Mark realized that most pecan nut sales were around the holidays, but that pecan oil could be a steady year-round product. Broken pecan pieces could also be used when making oil, as opposed to nut sales.
With help from the Choctaw Nation Agriculture Outreach Program, in 2016 Achukma Pecan Oil was in business. Achukma is a Choctaw word suggested by Mark’s mother meaning “pure.” Their oil is 100-percent pure virgin, and is cold pressed similarly to how olive oil is made.
Pecan oil continues to grow in popularity as the public discovers its culinary and health benefits. It can be used as low-fat cooking oil, and its unsaturated fats are full of Omega-3 and 6 vitamins. Pecan oil also contains vitamin E, zinc, and other nutrients. It contains no strong flavors so it can be added to salad dressings and used in cooking and baking. It doesn’t begin to smoke until 470 degrees, so it can be used as a healthy alternative to frying foods. Achukma provides several recipes using pecan oil here.
Achukma can be ordered online from Achukma.com, and found in many stores throughout the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, including the Tribally owned Choctaw Welcome Center and Choctaw Travel Plaza. For more information about visiting the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, visit choctawcountry.com.