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“Pecan” Is A Native American Word Used To Describe Nuts Requiring A Stone To Crack (+20 More Fun Facts)

Pecan Day is a commemoration of the planting of a pecan tree by George Washington at the Mount Vernon estate on March 25, 1775.

  • The pecan tree sapling was gifted to him by Thomas Jefferson, who had planted a few pecan trees from the southern US at Monticello, VA. The pecan, native to southern North America, is sometimes called  “America’s own nut.” First cultivated by Native Americans, it has been transplanted to other counties but has failed to achieve wide use or popularity outside the US.
  • “Pecan” is from an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack.
  • It would take 11,624 pecans, stacked end to end, to reach the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
  • Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.  In fact, Texas Governor James Hogg liked pecan trees so much that he asked if a pecan tree could be planted at his gravesite when he died.
  • Butter pecan, a popular ice cream flavor, is a Texas invention.
  • Albany, Georgia, which boasts more than 600,000 pecan trees, is the pecan capital of the U.S.  Albany hosts the annual National Pecan Festival, which includes a race, parade, pecan-cooking contest, the crowning of the National Pecan Queen and many other activities.
  • There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.  Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
  • The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
  • Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
  • Pecan wood is often utilized for the manufacturing of furniture, paneling and flooring.
  • Pecans are related to walnuts but are much sweeter in flavor. Because of their oily composition though, pecans can become rancid very quickly in warm temperatures and high humidity. Shelled pecans are best kept inside a glass container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
  • The fats found in pecans are classified as monounsaturated and are recommended for the maintenance of a healthy heart. The nuts are also rich in Vitamin E and the mineral zinc. Pecans actually provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc and one ounce of pecans provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber intake.
  • The name “pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack.
  • About 78 pecans are used in the average pecan pie.
  • Although wild pecans were well known among native and colonial Americans as a delicacy, the commercial growing of pecans in the United States did not begin until the 1880s.
  • A pecan is not truly a nut, but is technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk.
  • Pecans are among the most nutritious of all nuts. There are 691 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of pecans.
  • The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Lumberton, Mississippi.
  • In 1920 commercial shelling equipment brought unshelled pecans to consumers for the first time.
  • Astronauts took pecans to the moon in two Apollo space missions.


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