Today, July 12, is National Pecan Pie Day! We’re observing the day by serving you some tasty pecan (and pecan pie) facts:
Pecans are the only nut variety that is of (North) American origin. Pecan trees are native to Mexico and the southern US. The nuts were foraged in the wild for generations, and used for everything from snacks and sweets, to baby milk, and the intoxicating powcohicora drink.
Pecan trees were domesticated for commercial growing in the 1880s. Although they are grown around the world today, 80 – 90% of the world’s pecan crop still comes from the United States.
Pecan trees take twelve years to reach maturity and start “fruiting,” and even then, only produce nuts every two years. Pecan trees can live to be over 200 years old, and some ancient pecans are over three feet in diameter.
Origin story. Culinary lore has it that the pecan pie was created by French people who had settled in New Orleans, a New World variation on the old world European sugary “treacle tart” and chess pie. Whatever the exact origins, pecan pie is closely associated with the American south and southern cuisine, and as a symbol of hospitality.
Be healthy, eat more (pecan) pie. About 78 pecans, or about four cups, or one pound, are used in the average pecan pie. One ounce of pecans (and, although math is hard for us, one ounce = 1/16th of a pound) provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber intake. 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.
Therefore, eating more pecan pie = more recommended daily fiber intake, more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and healthy fat. We love this kind of eating healthy!
Leftover pecans? Here are some of our favorite things to make with pecans:
Photo credit: Pecan Pie, Joe Hakim on Flickr