You can find over 500 different types of pecans today, each with its own flavor, texture, size and shape. However, only a handful of these are actually used in commercial production, including those such as the Cape Fear, Desirable, Moreland, Summer, and Paper-Shell varieties, to name a few.
When W.S. Stuckey first got into the pecan business, his grandmother used to divide the different varieties of pecans into paper sacks and then label them to help Stuckey identify the pecans he was buying and selling. We’ve done the same thing for you below, with a handy list of 12 of the most common pecan varieties.
1. Candy Pecans
Originating in Mississippi around 1913, this variety of pecans were originally grown for making all kinds of pecan confections — pecan divinity, pecan pies, and pecan log rolls. However, these rather small oval nuts, with their smoother-than-normal kernels, are tasty eaten right out of your hand. Starting in the 1940s, Candy Pecan trees have been mainly used as pollinators. Because they have thick foliage and are easy to care for, they’re also highly prized landscaping trees.
2. Cape Fear Pecans
Developed at the North Carolina State University Horticultural Department’s Coastal Plain Research Station in the late 1930s, the Cape Fear pecan is an average-sized, oblong-shaped nut, meaning you’ll get anywhere between 50 and 55 per pound of pecans. Its shell is relatively easy to crack, exposing a meaty, light-gold-colored nut with an above-average flavor that makes it perfect for candy making.
3. Desirable Pecans
If you are a regular eater of pecans, then it’s likely that you’ve eaten a few Desirable pecans in your time. Although the pecan was first developed by Carl Forkert of Johnson County, MS, in the early 1900s, it wasn’t widely available to the public until 1945, and by the 1990s, it was the most widely planted pecan tree in the U.S. What helps to make the Desirable the most popular of pecans is its easy-to-crack shell with a very meaty nut found inside. Their size also makes them “desirable” as they are slightly above average, yielding about 40 pecans per pound.
4. Elliot Pecans
Named after the man (H. Elliot) who discovered them growing on his Milton, FL, front lawn in 1912, the Elliot pecan wasn’t actually introduced to the market until seven years later in 1919. Though they’re relatively small (75 to 80 per pound), these teardrop-shaped pecan nuts make up for their size in flavor. Indeed, their plump kernels have a rich, buttery flavor with just a hint of hickory, making them great treats when just simply eating them by hand. Be prepared to pay a little more for Elliots, as you’ll usually only find these nuts available at specialty markets and gourmet grocery stores.
5. Mahan Pecans
The Mahan pecan is a thin-shelled large and slender pecan — at 2 ½”, you’ll usually get about 35 nuts per pound. The kernels are richly flavored and can be enjoyed either in pecan confections or straight out of your hand.
6. Hican Pecans
A very rare hybrid of the hickory nut and the Mahan pecan, the Hican has an elegant taste, with hickory being the dominant flavor. Once again, because they are the rarest of the pecans on our list, be prepared to open your wallet a little wider.
7. Moreland Pecans
Moreland pecans are some of the most commonly found pecans on the market today. These average-sized but great-tasting nuts with medium-thick shells originated in Louisiana, and you’ll get somewhere around 55 of these delicious nuts to fit in one pound.
8. Osage Pecans
Who says pecans only grow in the South? The Osage pecan tree was bred to thrive in the northern U.S. Its elliptically shaped, small- to medium-sized nuts are very much the same as Elliot pecans with a perfect oil content giving them a delicious taste.
9. Paper-Shell Pecans
As one might expect, the greatest benefit of these pecans is the fact that their shells are as thin as paper, hence their name. Not only are the nuts easily accessible, but the pecan inside is a little bit sweeter than other varieties. Who needs a nutcracker when these delicious nuts can be easily opened and enjoyed by everyone in the family?
10. Pawnee Pecans
Pawnee pecans are very large (Pawnees have a nut count of around 52 nuts per pound) and very sweet. Being a type of paper-shell pecan makes them easy to open for the impatient pecan eater.
11. Stuart Pecans
Though not as large as the Desirable, Stuart pecans are still pretty big with around 52 of them per pound. As delicious as they are, however, they require a bit of patience — Stuart pecan trees take between eight and ten years to produce this delicious pecan.
12. Summer Pecans
One of the largest pecan varieties grown in southern Georgia, Summer pecans fit somewhere around 48 nuts per pound. Don’t let its darker kernel fool you, as it is one of the tastiest pecans you’ll ever eat.
Craving pecans, now? That was our strategy. We’ve got plenty of nutty snacks to choose from. Why not order some below?
A bestseller, our Toasted & Salted Pecans are a great snack on the road … or on the couch!
Indulge yourself with our five-flavor Pecan Sampler, which includes Toasted & Salted, Honey Roasted, Vanilla Bourbon, and Honey Cinnamon and Honey Glazed Pecan.
Our Nutty Box is another great way to sample flavors, with Vanilla Bourbon Pecan, Toasted ‘n Salted Pecans, Honey Roasted Pecan, Honey Roasted Cashew, and Salt & Cracked Pepper Cashew.
Visit stuckeys.com for more road-trip merchandise and gift ideas!
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Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
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Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!