A member of the hickory family, the pecan is native to central and southern United States. “Pecan” is an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack. They are an excellent source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E. Pecans can help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. They are rich in dietary fiber.
Pecans make great snacks all on their own, but they also make terrific garnishes to other foods such as desserts, salads or the main meal. Sweet or savory, pecans can add a little glamor to a dish or be the star of the show.
- Pecans come in a variety of sizes – mammoth, extra large, large, medium, small and midget.
- Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
- 2 Pecans provide nearly 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for zinc.
- 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.
- The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
- Native Americans utilized and cultivated wild pecans in the 1500s. It is the only tree native to North America and is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species
- 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.
- Pecan trees usually range in height from 70 to 100 feet, but some trees grow as tall as 150 feet or higher. Native pecan trees – those over 150 years old – have trunks more than three feet in diameter.
- There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans. Many are named for Native American Indian tribes, including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
- Pecan trees only produce nuts every two years.
- The pecan pie was created by French people who had settled in New Orleans.
- The pecan is heart healthy and contains antioxidants, 19 vitamins and minerals and healthy fat. One of the mineral components is zinc, which is important in producing testosterone in both males and females.
- In 1995, Georgia pecan wood was selected by the Atlanta Committee to make the handles of the torches for the 1996 Olympic Games. The torches were carried in the 15,000-mile U.S.A. relay and in the lighting of the Olympic flame in Atlanta on July 19, 1996.
- About 78 pecans are used in the average pecan pie.
- Pecan trees can live to be over 200 years old.
- In 2010 there were 65 people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name ‘Pecan’
- The world’s largest pecan nursery is in Lumberton, Mississippi