It’s harvest time! Pecans, sometimes referred to as a “dryfruit” or a "drupaceous nut,” are typically harvested in late October or early November down South. The soft husk splits into four pieces, and the one seeded nut falls to the ground where it is gathered quickly to prevent spoilage.
Pecan trees, which are native to North America, can grow up to 100 feet tall, and live to be over 400 years old. This means that trees planted by George Washington in 1775 are still around today! Mississippi Nuts, as he fondly referred to them, were often in his pockets for snacking.
Not everyone used pecans as a snack. Historically, some Native American tribes relied on the pecan harvest for sustenance over the winter. For example, the Mariame Tribe of Texas depended on them as their only nutrition source for two months each year!
Cultivation of pecans began in 1846, when Antoine, an African American slave, grafted a variety of pecan that produced a softer, thinner shell that was more plentiful at harvest time and easier to crack open. Each Centennial Pecan tree, as it was so called, can produce 400 pounds of pecans each year once it reaches maturity.
400 pounds of pecans can make a lot of pecan pies, and in honor of our Geechee friends who harvested pecans for so many years, here is a Pecan Pie Recipe for you to bake and enjoy!
Geechee Pecan Pie Recipe
What you need:
- 1 9" pie crust - unbaked
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup Karo syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
- 2 cups broken pecans, and a few for the top for aesthetic purposes
What to do:
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in everything else. Pour the mixture into your pie crust, place a few pecans on top to make it pretty, and pour it into your pie shell. Bake at 400 °F. for 40 minutes.