You're likely familiar with various nuts, like cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios. But have you ever considered the different varieties in each category? More specifically, have you ever found yourself wondering are there different types of pecans?
The answer is yes! Pecans come in an extensive variety, each one offering a distinctive flavor and texture.
If you're interested in exploring the different varieties of pecans, you've come to the right place. Learn about some popular types of pecans and what makes each one unique! Afterward, we encourage you to taste some of these pecan varieties for yourself to experience their full, rich flavors.
Though they're tasty to enjoy on their own, Candy pecans are often used in cooking and baking and to accompany a variety of desserts. They also add just the right amount of sweetness and crunch to salads. Frequently coated in cinnamon and sugar, candy pecans are a delectable treat with a distinctively rich flavor.
Like many pecan trees, Candy pecans typically grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, characterized by long hot summers and mild winters. The trees require lots of direct sunlight and plenty of moisture. With the ideal growing conditions, this medium-sized nut produces rapidly.
The fun part about Candy pecans is that you can coat them with a variety of sweet flavors, from chocolate to toffee to peanut butter. Whether you're looking for the perfect holiday gift for a loved one or just a tasty treat to indulge in on your own, Candy pecans are an excellent option.
Originating from North Carolina and first reported in 1937, Cape Fear pecans are among the earliest varieties produced.
Lighter in color than most nut varieties, they have a rich golden appearance, thin shell and nutty, buttery flavor. Because of their low tolerance to cold temperatures, they mostly grow in Texas and some parts of Mexico.
The Desirable is a popular pecan variety in the U.S., especially in the southeast. These large and well-filled nuts have a full, rich flavor and their medium to thick soft shells make them very easy to crack.
While trees that produce Desirable pecans are often susceptible to scab disease that can reduce crop yields, many farmers prefer this variety due to its high quality and reliability.
Another favored variety with many farmers, the Elliott is considered a specialty pecan. Predominate in Florida and Georgia, Elliott pecans have a high oil concentration, sweet buttery flavor, light golden color and crisp yet smooth texture. They also have a perfectly symmetrical shape distinguished by smooth, even grooves.
This variety was named for Henry Elliot, who first discovered this tree seedling growing on his Florida farm in 1912. Highly resistant to scab and drought, the Elliott tree is a quality producer of nuts. However, as it isn't as cold-tolerant as other pecan trees, the Elliot does best in warmer southern regions.
Due to their exceptional flavor and texture, Elliott pecans are highly sought after by chefs, candy makers and foodies alike.
Identified by its large size and soft, thin shell, Mahan pecan kernels are rich in flavor and quality. This variety is an excellent option for both cooking and snacking.
The Mahan tree tends to grow quickly, producing its nuts earlier than many other pecan trees.
The Moreland pecan is known for its high oil content, full size, medium to thick shell and extra rich flavor. First discovered in Louisiana, the vigorous Moreland pecan tree is highly resistant to scab and other diseases and can also withstand high temperatures and drought. It develops a dense canopy of leaves and an abundance of nuts.
Moreland pecan trees generally grow in Florida, Louisiana and even some parts of South America. The Desirable pecan tree often serves as a pollinator for the Moreland, helping produce its tasty pecans.
Commonly grown in Georgia and Texas, the Pawnee pecan has a rich, buttery flavor and excellent quality, making it ideal for baking. This nut ripens early in autumn, making it one of the first varieties of the year to market and widely available for consumers.
As another scab-susceptible variety, Pawnee trees need good air circulation to help leaves dry quickly and reduce scab development. These trees require wide open growing space and distance from other plants in the orchard to produce their flavorful pecans.
As the U.S. Southeast's most widely planted variety, Stuart is one of the most common types of pecans. Though not quite as large as Desirables, ripe Stuart pecans still reach a good size. The Stuart pecan is known for its crunchy texture and sweet, nutty flavor. It's distinguishable by a brown striped shell and a plump, pale yellow kernel.
Strong and sturdy, the Stuart pecan tree is very low maintenance compared to other pecan trees, though this variety takes longer to reach maturity. While most pecan trees produce nuts after 3-4 years, Stuart trees typically need 8-10 years to reach bearing age.
An old-time favorite, Stuart pecans often appear in a range of sweet and savory recipes — pesto, cheese boards, pecan cream cakes, cookies and more.
As its name indicates, the Western Schley pecan is common in western regions such as New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and California. This small yet quality nut is distinguished by its oblong shape, thin and smooth shell and buttery flavor. However, the pecan's minuscule size and high susceptibility to scab make it unsuitable for growing in the southeast.
Which Type of Pecan Is Best?
The best type of pecan is a matter of opinion and ultimately depends on your desired flavor, sweetness and texture preferences. To find your favorite pecan varieties, we encourage you to taste them for yourself. This list merely scratches the surface — with over 1,000 types of pecans out there, you have a whole world of options!
Browse Pecans From Lane Southern Orchards
After learning some of the qualities and differences between pecans, we hope you're encouraged to give them a try. At Lane Southern Orchards, we're committed to providing our customers with quality pecans, fruits, syrups, jams and much more.
We've grown fresh, flavorful peaches and pecans since 1908, bringing natural flavors straight from our farm to your home. You can choose from several varieties of pecans and find your favorite from our selection. We have something for everyone to enjoy, from sweet candy pecans to shelled Georiga pecans.
Discover the authentic flavors of Georgia when you shop with Lane Southern Orchards. Browse our pecan products today!