Pecan vs. Walnut

Pecans vs. Walnuts

Pecan Nutrition

A lot of times, people tend to easily mistake pecan nuts for walnuts and vice versa. This might be because they look similar, or because they are both tree nuts. Although the pecan nut and walnut happen to be very similar in terms of their look and their nutritional benefits, there are still some significant differences between them.

black walnuts

Ranging from Almonds to Walnuts to Cashews and other types of nuts, pecan nuts and walnuts happen to be one of the most consumed and enjoyable nuts in the world. Just as the demand for these nuts is on the increase, there are still a lot of people that find it hard to differentiate them, hence the need for this article.

This article compares the pecan nut and walnut and highlights every difference and similarity between them in an effort to make them easy to spot. The differences and similarities would include physical, nutritional, and difference in their tastes.

The Pecan vs. the Walnut

In terms of the origin of these two famous nuts, the pecan nut is from the pecan tree, which is native to Texas and southern parts of the United States. On the other hand, walnuts are from walnut trees, which originated in Europe and Asia.

The name of the native “Pecan” is derived from the Algonquian language, which refers to nuts that are required to be cracked open using a stone.  Newer improved papershell varieties of pecans have a much thinner shell than original native pecans. As for the walnut, it is a Juglans genus and considered to be a drupe. Also, the walnut has four main varieties, which are the black walnut and English walnut.  Since there are over 1000 named pecan varieties or cultivars, the pecan has many shapes and sizes.  Black walnuts are similar to native pecans while English walnuts are comparable to improved pecan varieties.

Shell, Shape, Color, and Taste of Nuts.

green pecan nut clusters

When trying to differentiate between a pecan nut and a walnut, one way is by the shell. While the shell of a pecan nut is hard to crack and needs a stone to open it, the shells of a walnut are even harder to crack.

Also, the colors of the shells of each of these two nuts differ a bit. As for pecans, they have a dark brown colored shell. While in the case of walnuts, the shells are light brown. Also, the shape of a shelled pecan is elliptical/oval, and that of walnut is round. When the shell of the pecan and walnut is broken, the pecan’s nut still has an oval shape, and the walnut’s nut looks like a human brain.

In terms of the taste, pecans taste sweeter than the walnuts, and they are drier. Walnuts are partially bitter and are oily, and due to how oily they are, people in most cases roast them before consumption.

Nutritional Content of Pecans and Walnuts

Both the pecan nut and walnut contain a lot of nutritional substances that can help the body generally. In regards to vitamin contents in these nuts, fresh pecans have more Vitamin B1, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin K. While walnuts have more Vitamin B6.

As for the level of fats in the nuts, raw pecans have a lot of mono saturated fats and less polyunsaturated fats, and this is as a result of the low oil level in it. In contrast, walnuts have a larger amount of unsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. In general, pecans have more dietary fiber than walnuts, and walnuts have a higher amount of Omega-3 and antioxidant substance.

There are several differences that can be spotted between pecan nuts and walnuts. The differences, even though they might not be so distinct, they can be easily spotted when adequately observed. 

Did you know, Walnuts have produced crops in the United States that exceed 2 Billion pounds while Pecans largest crop is 400 Million.

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