French: pacane, noix de pécan
Origin: southern US
The pecan (the name comes from the Algonquin language) is the thin-shelled oval fruit of the pecan tree, a large tree that grows in cool damp locations, a relative of the hickory. It belongs to the same family as the walnut and has the same distinctive texture and 'brain-like' shape, but a slightly sweeter taste.
Evidence of the pecan reaches back to prehistoric times. Fossils found in Texas and northern Mexico reveal that pecan trees grew along rivers and canals long before the arrival of the Native Americans.
Historians have always found evidence of camps near pecan trees, a thesis supported by Cabeza de Vaca who, while a prisoner of an Indian tribe between 1529 and 1535, wrote in his journal that the movements and activities of the Indians of the southern US were determined by the harvest of pecans, which constituted their staple food for more than four months of the year.
Photo: California Pecan Nut
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