The pecan is a native south-central American/ Mexican tree nut and is a member of the hickory family. The deciduous tree is large and can grow to height of between 20 and 40 metres. In a good year, Australian trees produce around 20-30 kg per tree.
Australia is the fourth highest global producer of pecans, behind the USA, Mexico (90% of production) and the Republic of South Africa. Pecans constitute less than 5% of the world tree nut trade.
A pecan is not truly a nut, but is technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. There are over 500 different varieties of pecans available for consumption. Wichita, Western Schley, Mohawks and Apaches are the popular varieties grown in Australia.
The nuts of the pecan are edible, with a rich, buttery flavor. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, particularly in sweet desserts and confectionary (the classic southern U.S pecan pie) but also in some savory dishes and stuffings. Pecan nuts are high in fibre, protein, unsaturated fats and energy and have a very high level of antioxidants.