Pecan harvest yields great snacks with a rich history

Did George ever taste pecan milk?

harvested-pecans Pecans are harvested in the fall, usually late October or early November when the nuts are succulent, aromatic and fresh. The soft husk splits into four pieces and the one seeded endocarp (nut) falls to the ground. They're gathered frequently to prevent spoilage. Classified as a "drupe," pecans are sometimes referred to as "dryfruit" or a "drupaceous nut."

This is the best time of year when you can buy fresh harvested pecans and sell them to assist in various projects such as fundraising. As edible holiday décor, pecans in the hull make ideal conversation starters; folks sitting around the table, a bowl of pecans, a couple nut-crackers. In no time, the stories come out and everyone is enjoying the cracking and splitting of fresh pecans. Laughter and conversation fill cool the fall air.

Pecans have an interesting history that's uniquely American. This relative of the Walnut tree is native to North America. Pecan trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and live to be over 400 years old. In fact, pecan trees that were planted by George Washington at his homestead at Mount Vernon in 1775 are still alive. Old George was so fond of pecans or "Mississippi Nuts" as he called them, that he'd often carry a handful in his pocket.

Native Americans revered the pecan. The Mariame Indian tribe of Texas thought of this nut tree as sacred. To them it represented the Great Spirit. The harvest would provide them with nourishment during harsh winters. They even subsisted entirely on pecans for 2 months of the year!

The Algonquin Indians call the nut tree "paccan" or "pakan." Translated this means: "Food from a tree that's so hard, it has to be cracked with a stone." They even developed a nourishing creamy nut milk called "powcohicora." They would pound the nut meat and add it to water to make a "Pecan Milk." You can safely feed your baby pecan milk, as they did, because it's easy to digest.

Pecan cultivation began in 1846 when an African American slave by the only known name of Antoine, grafted a variety of pecan that produced a thinner, softer shell and a more productive harvest. This variety of pecan tree is known as the Centennial. Although it takes nearly 10 years to become productive, a single tree can produce almost 400 pounds of pecans.

Today there are still only a handful of countries besides the United States that produce pecans. Israel and Australia came into the picture just recently in the 60's and 70's. Since the U.S. supplies the world with 80% of all pecans, it's truly an All-American treat. And did Ol' George ever drink pecan milk? Well, we may never know, but we're certain he probably would've liked it.

Enjoy our variety of fresh crop pecans ready in the shell, all natural shelled and bagged or roasted and salted. Always with your satisfaction in mind, the Priester's 100% product pledge guarantee on every order.

"This year's pecan harvest is supposed to be the best crop we've seen in 10 years."

Thomas Ellis and Ellen Ellis Burkett - Co-Owners

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Mammoth pecan halves roasted and lightly salted to perfection.