Pecans are the only major tree nut indigenous to America, with a storied history among Native Americans and early settlers.
With their mighty trees taking root along the rich, fertile banks of the many rivers flowing throughout the vast plains of the southeastern United States more than 100 million years ago, pecans are the only major tree nut indigenous to America and have not been found growing naturally anywhere else in the world.
The pecan’s storied past predates the founding of our country; yet, pecans have become embedded into American traditions, culture and, of course, cuisine. Today, pecans are one of the few indigenous plants to have evolved into a highly coveted and internationally traded crop, with American growers producing over 80% of the world’s pecan supply.
Wild pecans were a staple in the diets of Native Americans, who originally referred to them as pecanes and relied on their nourishing kernels as a major food source in the fall months. They also created what could be considered the original nut milk called powcohicora by fermenting pecan powder into a drink.
After centuries foraging wild pecans, Native Americans began planting pecan trees and trading their harvest to European explorers, who quickly became enamored and helped spread the lore—and seed—of this local delicacy.
Pecan growers recognize they’re taking care of something special. Numerous American families have proudly passed down the traditions of the trade for generation after generation.
Today, American Pecans™ are the product of well-nourished soil, warm climate, strong sun, an adequate water supply, and the nurturing of passionate growers. It also requires immense patience – considering that it takes nearly 10 years before a pecan tree is in full production of nuts. Fortunately, the stately pecan tree – the largest member of the hickory family – can produce nuts for 100 years or more.
Pecan growers recognize they’re taking care of something special. Numerous American families have proudly passed down the traditions of the trade for multiple generations. Pecans not only have a treasured place in the history of America, they’ve given their distinctive flavor to many uniquely American dishes, including everyone’s favorite, pecan pie.
With their rich, buttery texture, naturally sweet taste and numerous nutrition benefits, American Pecans continue to delight both at home and abroad. We’re certain you’ll love them, too!
Fossils of pecan seeds and leaves were formed near the banks of the Rio Grande, archaeologists estimate.
Native Americans relied on wild pecan's nourishing nut meat, as well as the bark and leaves of the pecan tree for medicine purposes.
Spaniard Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked near Galveston, Texas, and became the first European introduced to pecans after being captured by Karankawas, a Native American tribe who lived along Texas coast.
French settlers in New Orleans popularized pralines, a candy made with pecans.
First U.S. planting of pecan trees took place in Long Island, New York.
Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees at Monticello and sent seeds to George Washington, who planted and cared for his own trees. These trees are now the oldest living trees in Mount Vernon.
French settlers began exporting pecans to the West Indies.
First time pecan trees were succesfully grafted at the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana, which started the process of creating improved varieties or cultivars derived from native pecan trees.
First published recipe for pecan pie.
The pecan tree was declared the official state tree of Texas.
Alabama designated the pecan as the official state nut.
The pecan was declared the official nut of Arkansas.
American Pecan Council was founded after the USDA approved a Federal Marketing Order for pecans.
When it comes to America’s native nut, great taste is just the beginning. Heart-healthy with power-packed protein, this nutrient-dense nut boasts multiple health-promoting nutrients and bioactive compounds. The pecan has rightfully earned its reputation as a nutrition powerhouse.