Although you can find pecans in grocery stores throughout the country, they’re prevalent and readily available in the southern states. In fact, Texas has claimed the pecan tree as its state tree! Whether you love pecans or think very little about them, you’ll love these interesting facts you probably didn’t know about pecans.
Georgia Leads in Pecan Production
Fascinatingly, the United States is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the world’s pecan production, and Georgia has been the leading pecan-producing state since the 1800s. To take it a step further, the city of Albany, Georgia, is the pecan capital of the world! In fact, Albany harbors nearly 600,000 pecan trees.
They Aren’t True Nuts
Although most people refer to pecans as nuts, they’re botanically drupes. Along with walnuts and almonds, pecans belong to the same family as peaches, cherries, and plums. With fruit drupes, we typically eat the outside and leave the pit. With nut drupes, on the other hand, we discard the outside and eat the seed inside.
Pecans Are High in Antioxidants
Believe it or not, pecans rank among the top antioxidant-rich foods, which makes them a superfood. They contain flavonoids, which may reduce inflammation, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and cognitive diseases in the body. Therefore, knowing what to do with pecans can help you incorporate them into your daily life and improve your health.
There Are Over 1,000 Varieties
Although the US uses only a small percentage of pecan varieties for commercial production, there are over 1,000 varieties. Many of them got their names from Native American tribes, and the word “pecan” even comes from a Native American word meaning “nut that requires a stone to crack.”
Pecan Trees Can Live Over 200 Years
Interestingly, pecan trees can live for over 200 years! With that in mind, they’ll deliver delicious, buttery nuts for generations to come. However, pecan trees produce on alternate bearing years, meaning they produce a heavy yield one year and a light crop the next.
Hopefully, these five interesting facts you didn’t know about pecans have given you a reason to add them to your diet. Since you probably didn’t know these things before, you can assume other people don’t, either: use these facts as new talking points for your upcoming family gatherings!