Hand-Picked Pecan Facts From Stahmanns Pecans

Need a pecan fact for school, work, or just for fun? Your top source for all things pecan has you covered! Keep reading for hand-picked pecan facts from yours truly.

  1. Our home state of New Mexico is one of the top pecan-producing states in the U.S., in addition to Texas and Georgia.
  2. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that nut consumption may increase metabolic rates and enhance satiety. 
  3. The thing is, pecans actually aren’t nuts at all—in fact, many of the most beloved and familiar “nuts” found in grocery aisles aren’t either. Pecans are actually classified as “drupes”. So what’s a drupe? Read our blog to find out!
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  1. “Pecan” originates from an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack. Long before the days of shelling machinery and nutcrackers, Native American tribes had to get creative, shelling pecans using stones!
  2. According to the USDA, pecan nuts rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants, more than any other tree nut!
  3. Pecans are the only native tree nut to North America. In fact, our favorite crunchy snack has been growing wild for millions of years on this continent, long before people even settled in the area!
  1. Pecans pack more goodness than you think, with high antioxidant levels that boost your immunity and reduce your risk of contracting viral illnesses. 
  2. Astronauts brought pecans on not 1, but 2 Apollo missions to the moon for a tasty space snack. Small portions of roasted pecans were vacuum-sealed and stowed on the spacecraft for astronauts to enjoy after a long day exploring and studying the moon’s surface. 
  3. It takes pecan trees at least 12 years to mature, with healthy trees producing fresh pecans for up to 200 years. Our beloved trees were first planted in 1932 by founder Deane F. Stahmann Sr., making them nearly 90 years old!
  4. The scientific name for the pecan is Carya illinoinensis, which is a member of the Juglandaceae family.
  5. The first fossil evidence for plants within the Juglandaceae family dates back to the Cretaceous period—that was 145 million years ago! Evolution and differentiation continued to happen over the next 100 million years in the J. family, fine-tuning the development of the pecan up to about 45 million years ago. 
  6. Before Europeans settled in North America in the 16th century, pecans were widely traded and consumed by Native Americans, even being used as a form of currency for a period of time.
  1. Pecans first became known to Europeans in the 16th century, when Spanish explorers landed in what is now Texas, Louisiana, and Mexico. 
  2. Spanish explorers first referred to pecan nuts as nuez de la arruga, which roughly translates to “wrinkle nut” due to its appearance.
  3. From there, pecans made their way across the continent, with evidence of popularity rising during revolutionary times. 
  4. The first U.S. pecan planting took place in Long Island, NY, in 1772, with the nuts considered a delicacy or luxury among Americans.  
  5. By the end of the late 1700s, their popularity had spread all along the Atlantic Seaboard, with Thomas Jefferson even planting pecan trees in his nut orchard at his home in Virginia.
  6. George Washington even noted in his journal that Thomas Jefferson gave him “Illinois nuts” pecans, which he then grew at Mount Vernon, his Virginia home. Washington was known to carry them in his coat pockets as a snack.
  7. Pecans contain 18 grams of unsaturated fats per serving, helping to lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.
  8. Pecans naturally contain zero mg of sodium, reducing your risk of high blood pressure.
  9.  Pecans pack 3% of your recommended intake of potassium, which is about a quarter of the amount bananas contain.
  1. Compared to other nuts, pecans are among the lowest in carbs and highest in dietary fiber per serving.
  2. On average, 78 pecans are used in a pecan pie.
  3. Pecan wood was used for the 10,000+ torches in the 1996 Olympic Games. The torches each weighed about 3.5 lbs and were made primarily of aluminum with a pecan wood handle and gold ornamental touches. 
  4. Pecans were one of the most recently domesticated major crops, although already well- known among native and colonial Americans as a delicacy.
  5. The commercial growing of pecans in the United States did not officially begin until the 1880s, when grafting techniques were developed to allow for precise variety selection on an industrial level.
  6. Some of the most popular varieties including ‘Stuart’, ‘Schley’, ‘Elliott’, and ‘Desirable’ were actually developed in the 1800s and remain relatively unchanged. 
  7. While New Orleans is known for its praline pecans (made out of pecans, sugar, milk, and butter), the famous sweet treat actually originated in France. Its popularity continued to grow in the French Quarter, where it became one of America’s earliest street foods.
  8. The pecan continued to grow in popularity throughout the 20th century, spiking in sales in the 1920s after a pecan pie recipe was printed on cans of Karo syrup.
  1. In 1932, pecans officially took root in the U.S. when our original founder, Deane F. Stahmann Sr., planted the first pecan trees on our farm, creating the first planted pecan farm and the first irrigated pecan farm in the world. 

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