This indigenous North American nut tree likes humid and hot climates, grows fast, and very tall (up to 60 metres).
Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Kentucky are large producers, and contribute to the annual harvest of 120,000 metric tons (approximately 250 million pounds).
South African farmers planted a few thousand hectares of pecans and report satisfactory results.
Pecan is a member of the walnut family, and was a major source of food to natives of southwestern North America.
There are several varieties – choctaw being the tastiest, followed by green river, kanza, mohawk and malean.
The nuts ripen from April to July, and are rich in protein, vitamins, carbohydrates and oils.
After harvest, the nuts may be stored for up to six months at room temperature.
Pecan pie is a southern US specialty, and much liked by the population there although it tends to be super sweet.
There are several companies that specialize in processing and marketing pecans. Some processed pecan products are roasted and salted, roasted pecan pieces blackberry and pecan cake, apricot and pecan brandy cake, brownies and southern treasures, pecan pralines, pecan cheese straws, toasted pecan brittle, chocolate covered pecans, toasted chocolate covered pecan chesters, caramel pecan pieces covered with chocolate, and pecan fudge.
For best results buy pecans in their shell. They are available around Christmas.
After shelling, store them in a cool dry place or refrigerate.
Pecans possess an addictive texture and taste.