History of the Pecan

The History of Pecans, A Pecan Timeline and Fun Facts

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Pecans Were Popular From the Start

The history of pecans can be traced back to the 16th century. The only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America, the pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species. The name “pecan” is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

Originating in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico, pecans were widely used by pre-colonial residents. Pecans were favored because they were accessible to waterways, easier to shell than other North American nut species and of course, for their great taste.

Because wild pecans were readily available, many Native American tribes in the U.S. and Mexico used the wild pecan as a major food source during autumn. It is speculated that pecans were used to produce a fermented intoxicating drink called “Powcohicora” (where the word “hickory” comes from). It also is said that Native Americans first cultivated the pecan tree.

Presidents Washington and Jefferson Loved Pecans, Too!
One of the first known cultivated pecan tree plantings, by Spanish colonists and Franciscans in northern Mexico, appears to have taken place in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s. These plantings are documented to around 1711—about 60 years before the first recorded planting by U.S. colonists.

The first U.S. pecan planting took place in Long Island, NY in 1772. By the late 1700’s, pecans from the northern range reached the English portion of the Atlantic Seaboard and were planted in the gardens of easterners such as George Washington (1775) and Thomas Jefferson (1779). Settlers were also planting pecans in community gardens along the Gulf Coast at this time.

In the late 1770’s, the economic potential of pecans was realized by French and Spanish colonists settling along the Gulf of Mexico. By 1802, the French were exporting pecans to the West Indies—although it is speculated that pecans were exported to the West Indies and Spain earlier by Spanish colonists in northern Mexico. By 1805, advertisements in London said that the pecan was “…a tree meriting attention as a cultivated crop.”

The Birth of an Industry
New Orleans, located near the mouth of the Mississippi River, became very important to the marketing of pecans. The city had a natural market as well as an avenue for redistributing pecans to other parts of the U.S. and the world. The New Orleans market gained local interest in planting orchards, which stimulated the adaptation of vegetative propagation techniques and led to the demand for trees that produce superior nuts.

During the 1700’s and the early 1800’s, the pecan became an item of commerce for the American colonists and the pecan industry was born. (In San Antonio, the wild pecan harvest was more valuable than popular row crops like cotton!)

Pecan groves (trees established by natural forces) and orchards (trees planted by man) consisted of diverse nuts with various sizes, shapes, shell characteristics, flavor, fruiting ages and ripening dates. In the midst of this variability, there was the occasional discovery of a wild tree with unusually large, thin-shelled nuts, which were in high demand by customers.

In 1822, Abner Landrum of South Carolina discovered a pecan budding technique, which provided a way to graft plants derived from superior wild selections (or, in other words, to unite with a growing plant by placing in close contact). However, this invention was lost or overlooked until 1876 when an African-American slave gardener from Louisiana (named Antoine) successfully propagated pecans by grafting a superior wild pecan to seedling pecan stocks. Antoine’s clone was named “Centennial” because it won the Best Pecan Exhibited award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. His 1876 planting, which eventually became 126 Centennial trees, was the first official planting of improved pecans.

The successful use of grafting techniques led to grafted orchards of superior genotypes and proved to be a milestone for the pecan industry. The adoption of these techniques was slow and had little commercial impact—until the 1880’s when Louisiana and Texas nurserymen learned of pecan grafting and began propagation on a commercial level.

Thus was the start of a booming pecan growing and shelling industry!

A PECAN TIMELINE

1500’s

  • Native Americans utilized and cultivated wild pecans

1600’s – 1700’s

  • Spanish colonists cultivated orchards (late 1600’s – early 1700’s)
  • English settlers planted pecan trees (1700’s)
  • George Washington planted pecan trees (1775)
  • Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees (1779)
  • Economic potential for pecans realized (late 1700’s)

1800’s

  • Pecans exported by French to the West Indies (1802)
  • Pecan budding technique discovered (1822)
  • Successful grafting of the pecan tree (1846)
  • First planting of improved pecans (1876)
  • Commercial propagation of pecans begins (1880’s)

Source: Pecan Technology, Edited by Charles R. Santerre, http://www.ilovepecans.org/pecans-101/history-of-pecans/

Calling all Gift Givers! This is the week to order Hudson Pecans!

This month of December is flying by!  We are enjoying the holiday rush, and the orders keep coming in…we know there will be lots of happy folks out there receiving Hudson Pecans for Christmas!  Don’t forget that THIS FRIDAY – DECEMBER 16th – is the LAST day to order for guaranteed Christmas delivery.  So what are you waiting for??  Visit our shop right now and finish checking off your list today!  We have delicious pecans, all sorts of delectable candies, varied gift boxes and baskets – something for everyone!  Get to shopping…Christmas is coming!

Thanksgiving is Here! Got Your Pecan Pie Recipe Handy?

Well, Thanksgiving week is here!  That happened fast, didn’t it?  No Thanksgiving is complete without a pecan pie, so we have been searching high and low for some new, fun, delicious pecan pie recipes for you.  We found this one on Garden and Gun’s website, and my-oh-my…does it sound scrumptious or what?!  This is perfect for Christmas, too, so don’t hold back – order your Hudson pecans today, and impress your guests with this and any of our other delicious pecan recipes.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sorghum-Bourbon Pecan Pie (courtesy:  www.gardenandgun.com)
Serves 8

Ingredients

For the Crust
15 shortbread pecan sandies
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for buttering the pie plate

For the Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup sorghum syrup
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) toasted and chopped pecans

Preparation

For the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.

In a food processor, pulse the cookies and flour together until pulverized. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

For the Filling: Put the butter, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the syrup, bourbon, and vanilla. In a bowl, whisk the eggs together. Temper the egg mixture: slowly whisk ½ cup of the warm butter-sugar mixture into the eggs. Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the butter-sugar mixture and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is glossy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.

Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until the center feels set yet soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack; this will take about 4 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Tip: In the unlikely event of leftovers, wrap the pie plate tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tips on Storing Pecans (…and new pecan recipes!!)

Now that the season is upon us, and you’re hopefully filling up your shopping cart with lots of pecans and goodies from Hudson…the question may be asked, “How do I store my pecans?”

Pecans need to be stored properly to maintain their good taste – they are perishable because of their high oil content.  You may be the type that buys pecans in bulk to use throughout the year OR just keep them around for daily snacking.  Either way, here are some tips to be sure you’re storing your pecans correctly:

  • At home, unshelled pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place for three to six months.
  • If you have shelled pecans, they need to be either refrigerated in airtight containers for up to nine months, or frozen in zipper locked freezer bags for up to two years.
  • You can freeze and refreeze pecans for at least two years without loss of flavor or texture.

Now…on to the yummy part of the post – we have just added some new recipes (that all include delicious pecans) to our recipe page.  Go check it out!

Pecans – A Southern Holiday Tradition

There are very few dishes that represent Southern tradition more perfectly than a slice of pecan pie, with its dark custard filling and crunchy, nutty topping.  Add to that, Spiced Pecans, Cinnamon Pecans, Chocolate Covered Pecans…and the list goes on and on.

Sweet and buttery, the pecans that figure so prominently in many traditional Southern holiday recipes. They’re native to the Deep South, where the long, warm growing season provides the perfect growing climate. And they’re the third-most-popular nut in the U.S. behind peanuts and almonds, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

 

Here at Hudson Pecans, we love our pecans and are so proud of our carefully nurtured product that we can’t wait to get them to you this holiday season.  Check out our recipe page for new ways to serve the South’s favorite nut…and there will be more to come!  Shop now on our website…we have gift boxes, pecans for baking, candies – we have it all.  Here’s to pecan season and another wonderful holiday season in the South!

15 Amazing Benefits of Pecans for Skin, Hair and Health

Nuts are becoming increasingly popular as a crunchy and nutritious snack. Pecans are one of the most popular edible nuts native to North America and Mexico. The pecan tree is a large deciduous tree belonging to the hickory family. A typical pecan has a buttery rich shell which is golden brown outside and beige inside. The kernel occupies 40% to 60% of the space inside the shell. This kernel has a grooved surface but is slightly more oval in shape. The pecan has a sweet, rich and buttery flavor and texture which can be attributed to its high levels of monounsaturated oils. Pecans have a fat content of over 70% which is the highest among all the nuts. Shelled pecans are available all year round while unshelled pecans are available in autumn.

Pecans come in various sizes such as mammoth, extra-large, large, medium, small and midget. They are also available in several forms such as whole pecans, pecan halves, pieces, granules and meals. Their rich buttery flavor makes them suitable for both savory and sweet dishes. The famous “pecan pie” is a classic South American dish which uses pecan as a primary ingredient. Raw pecans can be salted or sweetened and make for a delicious snack. They can be sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes and ice creams. They are also widely used in confectionery as an addition to biscuits, sweets and cakes. Pecan nut butter is a popular spread for breads, toast etc.

So here are the benefits of eating pecans:

Health Benefits of Pecans:

Like most other nuts, pecans contain various nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that offer some wonderful health benefits.

1. Cardiovascular Health:

Pecans are rich in fiber which boosts the health of your heart by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and preventing some forms of cancer. It also contains monounsaturated fats like oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants that are healthy for your heart and help prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. As per research, pecans may help prevent coronary heart disease by inhibiting unwanted oxidation of blood lipids.

2. Digestive Health:

The fiber contained in pecans promotes colon health and facilitates regular bowel movements. It enables the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency by cleaning out the gastrointestinal system. Besides, it prevents constipation and reduces the risk of colitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

3. Helps in Weight Loss:

Research has indicated that a diet comprising of nuts such as pecans helps in losing weight. This is because nut consumption enhances satiety and increases metabolism.

4. Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer:

Pecans contain oleic acid, a fatty acid which has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

5. Bone and Teeth Health:

Phosphorus is one of the most abundant minerals in the body after calcium. Nearly 85% of phosphorus is found in bones and teeth while the other 15% is found in cells and tissues. Besides cleansing the waste from the body, phosphorus, along with calcium, promotes the health of your bones and teeth. This mineral is also vital for the growth and repair of cells and tissues as well as production of DNA and RNA. Lastly, it prevents muscle pain that can occur due to exercising.

6. Anti-inflammatory Benefits:

Pecans are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have proved that increased magnesium intake reduces inflammatory indicators in the body such as CRP (C-reactive protein), TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha) and IL6 (interlukin 6). It also reduces inflammation in the arterial walls, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other inflammatory ailments.

7. Reduces Blood Pressure:

Magnesium in pecans has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Though pecans cannot cure hypertension, they do help lower it.

8. Reduces the Risk of Stroke:

Studies have proved that consuming 100 milligrams of magnesium per day reduces the risk of stroke by 9%. Pecan being a good source of magnesium can form part of your diet to reap this benefit.

9. Anti-cancer Properties:

Pecans are rich in phytochemical substances such as polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds play an important role in removing toxic oxygen-free radicals, thus protecting your body from diseases, cancer and infections. Ellagic acid possesses anti-proliferative properties which inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens such as nitrosamines and polycyclic hydrocarbons, thus protecting the human body from cancers.

10. Strengthens the Immune System:

Pecans are a rich source of manganese which is a powerful antioxidant. This trace mineral helps boost your immunity and protects your nerve cells from free-radical damage. Adequate intake of manganese is vital for nerve conduction and brain function.

Skin Benefits of Pecans:

Pecans, like most other nuts, are rich in nutrients like zinc, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate and phosphorus, which play an important role in maintaining good skin. The various benefits of pecans for skin are as follows:

11. Prevents Skin Problems:

The outside appearance of our skin depends upon how we treat it from the inside. Thus, adequate nutrition is inevitable for maintaining a healthy skin and preventing skin problems. The toxins inside your body can make your skin suffer by causing breakouts, dullness and excess oil. Pecans are a good source of fiber which can do wonders for your health and hence, for your skin. It aids in the elimination of toxins and waste from the body, thereby improving the appearance of your skin.

12. Helps Maintain Clear Complexion:

Pecans contain zinc which helps in maintaining skin health by guarding against infections. Vitamin A on the other hand is an antioxidant which gives you a clear complexion.

13. Anti-aging Benefits:

Pecans contain numerous antioxidants including ellagic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E. These antioxidants fight and eliminate the free radicals which are responsible for causing premature skin aging. Thus, pecans can prevent the occurrence of signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.

Just like our skin, healthy hair is also a reflection of a healthy body. Thus, our hair follicles require adequate supply of vital nutrients to maintain their health and prevent hair problems. The nutritional value of pecans makes them beneficial for your hair.

14. Stimulates Hair Growth:

Pecans are an excellent source of L-arginine, an amino acid which, when applied topically helps treat male pattern baldness as well as encourage the growth of healthy hair. Vibrant blood flow throughout the body and to the hair roots is vital for healthy hair growth and scalp. L-arginine is beneficial in this regard as it improves the health of the artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots which can block the flow of blood.

15. Prevents Hair Loss:

Anemia is one of the common causes of hair loss. It is caused by iron deficiency in the blood. Pecans, being a good source of iron, can be included in your diet to improve your blood iron levels and hence, combat hair loss.

 

Credit: SABA, http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-pecans-for-skin-hair-and-health/

Pecans… Good for Your Health!

Pop a Pecan, Not a Pill. Article by Karen Borsari, Shape Magazine Online.
According to the National Pecan Shellers Association, pecans are high in healthy unsaturated fat and just a handful a day can lower “bad” cholesterol. They also contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Just one ounce of pecans provides 10percent of the Daily Recommended intake of fiber. Pecans are also rich in age defying antioxidants. In fact, research from the USDA shows that pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut and rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. I’m thinking a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with blueberries and pecans may as well be the breakfast version of the fountain of youth!
I had no idea just how good pecans are for you and, since I’m all about getting my nutrients from food, not supplements, I’ll be adding this healthy nut to my diet—and I’m looking beyond pecan pie. Sure it’s one of my Thanksgiving favorites but considering pecan is one of the worst pies for you, I did a little research and found some amazingly delicious yet healthy pecan recipes. My mouth was watering just reading about the 200-calorie goat cheese and pecan stuffed peppers, and I never would have thought to put pecans in my soup! More amazingly, I actually found a pecan pie recipe with no butter and no corn syrup and a raw, dairy-free ice cream recipe made with pecans.
If you’re as excited about the super-healthy nut as I am, you’re in luck! April is National Pecan Month. Aside from sharing my new arsenal of healthy pecan recipes with you, I’ve collected a few fun facts about the native American nut:

  • Pecans are the only tree nut native to North America. The first cultivated pecan trees were planted in the late 1600s to early 1700 hundreds in northern Mexico. The first U.S. plantings were on Long Island, New York.
  • Perhaps due to glaciers, pecans died out in Europe about two million years ago.
  • About 1,000 pecan varieties exist, many of them named after Native American tribes.
  • Today, the U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world pecan supply. The top states, in order, are Georgia, New Mexico and Texas.
  • In 1920 commercial shelling equipment brought unshelled pecans to consumers for the first time.
  • Webster’s dictionary offers three pronunciations for the word: pi-ˈkän, pi-ˈkan and ˈpē-ˌkan (because I know this article is going to set off a few arguments about that…)

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Fancy a Mammoth?

In the 16th century pecans grew wild across America, and were a staple for Native American tribes. The legend goes that the Algonquin tribe gave the delicious Mammoth Pecan its name.At Hudson Pecan, we honor this rich history with hand selected, Fancy Mammoth Pecans. Fancy Mammoth large pecan halves are perfect for snacking and baking, and all our mammoth pecan halves are kosher-certified. We can ship bulk quantities, so visit our Shop to order today!iStock_000011434538XSmall

Hudson Pecan Team Prepares Orchard for 2014 Harvest

Some people may think work in the pecan orchard is over once the harvest is complete, when in fact that is when work begins for the next season’s harvest. Like any great product it’s the work behind the scenes that results in something really special. And, growing pecans is not any different. Part of that work can include thinning the orchard of unhealthy or damaged trees to give healthy trees enough space for roots and limbs. The Hudson Pecan team, braving some of the south’s coldest temperatures in years, is busy this week marking and thinning trees in their 100-year-old Stuart pecan orchard.

New Study: Health Benefits of Eating Nuts

Check out this article regarding a recent study about the health benefits of eating nuts, including our favorite tree nut, pecans!

Nuts for you: New study finds eating nuts regularly seems to extend life span.

By: Linda Searing, Published: November 21

The Question: Numerous studies have found that some foods seem to increase logevity for people who eat them regularly.  Might nuts also have this effect?

This Study analyzed data on 118 men and women who had never had cancer, heart disease or stroke. Over a span of nearly 30 years, 27,429 of them died. Those who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts – roughly a small handful – seven or more times per week were 20 percent less likely to have dies for any reason than those who never ate nuts. Even those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in risk. Consuming nuts at least five times per week corresponded to a 29 percent drop in mortality risk for heart disease, a 24 percent decline for respiratory disease and an 11 percent drop for cancer.

Who May Be Affected? Adults. The health benefits of nuts have been attributed to their nutritional makeup, which is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and more. Nuts have been found in some studies to be helpful in preventing heart disease and diabetes.

Caveats: Data on nut consumption came from the participants’ responses on questionnaires every two – four years. All types of nuts were included – peanuts as well as tree nuts; however, the data did not include how the nuts were prepared (salted, roasted or raw, for example) and the findings did not differentiate by type of nut. The study was funded in part by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.

Find this study: Nov. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine

Learn more about the heart healthy benefits of nut consumption at www.mayoclinic.com (search “nuts” Learn about healthy eating in general at www.choosemyplate.gov.

The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. Nonetheless, conclusive evidence about a treatment’s effectiveness is rarely found in a single study.  Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.