The bare bones of the plants we eat

Pecan nuts

Next: Pine nuts

Scientific name – Carya illinoinensis

Shelled and unshelled Pecans. With many hundreds of cultivars, the shape of the nut can vary considerably from blunt-ended to pointed. The taste also varies in different cultivars. The size and shape of pecan nuts is highly variable; some are oval shaped and some are long and skinny. The trees can live and bear nuts for over 300 years.

Pecans are sweeter and milder in taste than the walnut with a rich buttery flavour and can be eaten fresh or used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It is especially well known in the very sweet pecan pie but is also good eaten on its own. Pecans can be ground, grated, shredded, pureed, and diced. They can be added to a wide variety of dishes including soups, salads, appetisers, grain and le- gume dishes, and even desserts. In the south central America, the pecan was a staple of the indigenous people prior to the colonisation of the area by Europeans.