April is National Pecan Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing some interesting facts about pecans!
10 Interesting Facts About Pecans
- Pecan is from an Algonquian word meaning ‘a nut requiring a stone to crack’.
- The U.S. produces about 80% of the world’s pecan crop.
- A pecan is not truly a nut, but technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit surrounded by a husk.
- Two Pecans provide nearly 10% of the recommended daily value for zinc.
- As the only nut tree native to North America, the pecan is sometimes called “America’s own nut.”
- Wild pecans were first cultivated by Native Americans back in the 1500s, and later transplanted to other countries.
- Pecans serve as a good source of protein and unsaturated fats.
- There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans – many are named for Native American Indian tribes including Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee.
- Before a shelled pecan is ready to be sold, it must first be cleaned, sized, sterilized, cracked and finally shelled.
- Pecans come in a variety of sizes – mammoth, extra large, large, medium, small and midget.
Health Benefits of Pecans
According to the Mayo Clinic, eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be heart-friendly. Containing unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, nuts are a great snack food – inexpensive, easy to store, and easy to pack when you’re on the go. As pecans are loaded with antioxidants that fight of diseases and nutrients that can lower cholesterol, it serves as a great and healthy food option. Other health benefits of pecans include:
#1 – Pecans are rich in antioxidants, specifically Vitamin E. In fact, pecans contain different forms of vitamin E, which has been found to prevent cell damage as well as lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 33 percent.
#2 – Pecans may help with weight control. This is according to a published review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003).
#3 – Pecans are heart healthy. Roughly 60 percent of the fat found in pecans is monounsaturated, and the remaining 30 percent is polyunsaturated, leaving very little saturated fat.
#4 – Pecans are filled with nutrients. Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals. In fact, just one ounce of pecans provides 10% of the recommended daily value for fiber!
About the National Pecan Day/Month
#NationalPecanDay is a food holiday initiated by the National Pecan Shellers Association in 1996 and celebrated each year on April 14. April is also National Pecan Month!
About the National Pecan Shellers Association
The National Pecan Shellers Association (NPSA) is a non-profit trade association committed to educating culinary and health professionals, food technologists and the general public about the nutritional benefits, variety of uses and all around great taste of pecans.
Stay tuned for our upcoming posts about diverticulitis and the health benefits of fiber!