Pecans have a sweet nutty and buttery flavor. The flavor is quite unique and scrumptious due to the high oil content in the pecans. The crisp and crunchy texture of the nut along with its healthy benefits makes it a perfect snack. Pecans are also used as a major ingredient in baking and cooking. Even though there are over 1000 named varieties of pecans, each one, has its own taste and characteristics that make it special.
Pecan Varieties of Texas
Pawnee pecans developed in Brownwood, Texas has a very rich and buttery taste. It is one of the first varieties or cultivars to ripen in the fall so it is very popular for pecan lovers who want New Crop In the Shell Pecans. It yields approximately 57% nut meat.
The Western Schley, or "Western," pecans originated in San Saba Texas in the late 1800's by our great great grandfather. It is the #1 planted variety of pecans in the world. It has a bit drier taste but a very crunchy texture. It yields approximately 60% nut meat to 40% shell.
Wichita is a popular species of pecans from Texas via the USDA Pecan Breeding Program. It is a high quality pecans with a little drier and crunchy taste. It is best grown in dryer climates where there is less humidity. It popularity is grower driven because it is a great producer.
The native pecans are grown on river and creek banks in Texas and other southern states. They have high oil content, which makes their flavor the richest and very buttery. They have a thick hard shell that make them less attractive for inshell pecan markets. These nuts only yield around 40% and can have over 100 nuts per pound. They vary in size and shape from tree to tree but are smaller than the commercial varieties.
Pecans are one of the most popular types of nuts in the United States. Pecans come from Hickory trees that are mainly found in the South-central region of The United States and in Mexico as well. The word ‘pecan’ roots from an Algonquin word that means, ‘’nut that requires a stone to crack.’’
Pecans appear similar to walnut. However, they are more slender, longer, and smoother in texture than walnuts. They are shelled nuts. Shelled pecans come in pecan halves and pecan pieces. Most pecans have a football shape. The shell has brown spots and is thinner and easier to crack than that of a walnut.
History of Pecans
Pecans have been an important part of the diet and cuisine of the cultures where pecans natively grow. Mexicans and Native American tribes have relied on the pecans as their staple food in fall and winter and even traded them.
In the late 18th century, French and Spanish colonists began to harvest these native pecans and later began exporting them to other countries. San Antonio, Dallas and New Orleans has a major habitat of pecan trees and became one of the leading markets of growing and exporting pecans in the 19th century.
In the 19th century, the pecan market became bigger, and its use in bakeries, cafes, restaurants and homes became very popular. Pecans have great importance in the culinary culture of Southern regions in the US, mainly used to make pecan pies and in pecan candy, ice cream and various desserts.