A native American nut from the Hickory family. The buttery-rich kernel is golden-brown on the outside and beige inside. Pecans have a fat content of over 70 percent, which is more than any other nut. Pecans are available in a variety of sizes: mammoth, extra large, large, medium, small and midget. They are available in several forms including whole pecans, pecan halves, pieces, granules and meal. "Pecan" is a Native American word from the Algonquin language, which was used to describe "all nuts requiring a stone to crack."

Plural: Pecans

Season: available year-round

How to select: When buying fresh pecans that have been shelled, look for clean nuts that are plump and uniform in size and color. Unshelled pecans should be heavy for their size, smooth, clean, and free from scars, cracks, holes, and mold. If unshelled pecans rattle when they are shaken, this may indicate that the pecan is not well-filled.

How to store: Store with care. Pecans have a high fat content that invites rancidity. Wrap tightly and keep in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Shelled pecans can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 months or frozen 6 months.

Matches well with: bourbon, brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, corn syrup, molasses, oranges, rum

Popular Pecan Recipes